The Maple Leafs have gone ahead and bought out Grabovski and have now left themselves almost 24 million dollars to spend. With the almost certain resignings of Kadri, Bernier, Franson, and Gunnarson the Leafs have far better options than resigning their 1st line centre (by default) for 1st line money. If we look at the money that will be spent on the RFA's that were just mentioned we will find a ton of money left over. These are assumptions that Kadri and Bernier take bridge contracts.
Kadri- $3mil-2 or 3 years
Bernier- 3.5 mil- 3 years (then he's a UFA)
Franson- 2.5 mil - 2 or 3 years
Gunnarson- 3 mil- 4 years
This ends up only being 12 million dollars spent on the RFA's the leafs have to sign, let us assume another 2 million on assorted RFA's such as Colborne. The leafs are left with a ball park of 10 million. If the leafs believe that 5 of this 10 million is worth Bozak or even 4 mil Nonis will have failed in improving the club.
The likes of Weiss, Ribeiro, Stastny, and yes even Grabovski have better offensive numbers than Bozak, even Antropov was able to put up better numbers than Bozak. I am not here to bash, I am here to state facts he is not...I repeat NOT a #1 centre. Bozak is a known commodity but not a valuable one and that is something Nonis needs to recognize. It is not just simply his lack of production that leads to issues but also what he represents. He has been the only able centre for Kessel and their comfort level has lead 2 different style coaches to not split them up. By keeping Bozak it will not allow for an increase in productivity on the first line and it will also stagnate the development of Kadri who will never be able to supplant the comfort aspect of Bozak and Kessel.
Bozak must be let go regardless of the fact the quality available is not a significant upgrade. However, an upgrade is still an upgrade. Once the almost guaranteed signing of Clarkson to about what I believe will be 4.5 million is announced the leafs will have 5.5 million to play with before the moving of Liles. This must be used for a centre. My idea is to trade Liles and a prospect and a draft pick to Colorado for Stastny who is the best option in my opinion, thus leaving the Leafs after the trade with 2 million dollars of flexibility to go into the season with. The Leafs will also have the ability to resign Stastny next year to a much more cap friendly contract unless he becomes an All-Star. Ference for 2 million wouldn't hurt the leafs either.
The age of Bozak and Kessel is over and lets be honest Lupul and Kessel are much more dynamic Bozak's Job was to get out of the way and backcheck.
OHH REALLY...has to go to the Boston Bruins who practically made it scripture that Tyler Seguin was better than Kessel and that they won that deal. OHH REALLY!.Lets all remember July 4th is the day when America prospered and this July 4th again an American prospered. Seguin was left off the world junior team for a reason, which is he is a perimeter player who is selfish with the puck. Dougie Hamilton will project to be a good Defenceman but no Offensive Machine and Jarrod Knight is apparently battling injury. While Kessel is the Leafs leading scorer every year since acquired, Joe Colborne has proved he can play in the NHL and be a serviceable centre with a big body and our 3rd rounder was traded away for assets. Let me finish by screaming all the way to Dallas through Boston. THANK YOU KESSEL!!!!!!!!!!