In the NHL, having money is great, but it doesn't always mean success; well not on the ice that is. Take a look at the whack of free agents Tampa Bay signed in the off season, and look at them now. Anyway, as I sit here and take a look at the class of 2009 free agents; I am less than hopeful in what big splashes the Leafs will make July 1st. That's not to say there aren't big names; Gaborik, Hossa, Neidermeyer, Havlat, Sakic, Sundin, etc. I'm just saying, none of the big free agents seem like guys Burke would ever consider building around, they're either too old, not his type of player; or will be offered ludicrous contracts by teams that have more to lose by not signing a big player.
Sure, there are a few guys that would definitely fit into what we all think Burke wants to do; Mike Cammalleri (the subject of talks already), Jay Bo, Mike Comrie, Andy McDonald, and co.; but nothing to get too excited about, because we have no idea which are teams are chasing. So here's why the draft, our prospects, and our tradeable players are so important to us. Whether it's drafting some young talented players, trading young players for young established players in the NHL, or trading anything we have for the new face of the franchise; if Burke wants that established star, it won't be with his chequebook on July 1st. Come March, the trade deadline, don't expect us to get that big a return, it seems as though we're headed toward option a (drafting young talented players). Our prospects might not seem so promising, but look again, because I beg to differ. There are so many young players drafted in late rounds, and not too successful in the AHL that turn into superstars; just because we have an organization that has always overlooked our youngsters in favour of the proven veteran, doesn't mean they aren't ready.
So let's gear up Toronto. We aren't going to be in the Hossa, or Gaborik sweeps, and we definitely aren't going to have Rick Nash or Alexander Frolov on our team come October of next year. So let's sit back, turn on some AHL games, maybe throw in some OHL highlights, and maybe hope for some of the middle of the pack free agents to back them up. Cheers to rebuilding!