With the Leafs in the beginning of a rebuild and the shipping of their star sniper Phil Kessel, many questions arise about the future of the rest of the Leaf core players especially Tyler Bozak. Bozak would make sense to move since you can get a decent return for him despite the fact the Leafs may have to retain some salary as he makes $4.2 million for the next three years. Plus, this could give Nazem Kadri the chance to prove that he's worth a long term deal with Toronto if he can produce since he'll be given the first line role. Tyler Bozak is a reliable second or third line centre who can win draws as shown by his 53.2% on faceoffs. He has shown that he can be effective on both special teams and be pretty consistent at putting up close to 50 points each season (or at least be on pace for 50 points with some shortened seasons due to injury). Of course, his offensive totals may be a little inflated from playing with one of the NHL's most consistent snipers in Phil Kessel but nevertheless, he is a strong forward in the defensive zone.
So what's a good asking price for Bozak?
Along with retaining about $1 million of his salary, the Leafs may be able to get a second round pick OR a third round pick with a mid tier prospect.
What teams would be able to fit Bozak?
Arizona: Arizona may be a team that makes sense to get a Bozak since their not exactly deep up the middle and this way you're not forcing a Dylan Strome so that could give him the required time to develop in the minors. The one problem with this is the Arizona is not a wealthy team so they may ask the Leafs to retain a good chunk of the salary which the Leafs may not be willing to do.
Washington: Washington could really use a second line centre but look to be very tight on salary with RFAs Braden Holtby and Marcus Johansson still unsigned with only 10 million of cap space left. Both came off career years and are looking for big money. The only way a Bozak deal would work there is if Washington sends back a bad contract like Brooks Laich who makes $4.5 million for two more seasons.
Philadelphia: This one is very unlikely but Philly needs to get rid of some bad contracts like Vinny Lecavalier($4.5million AAV, 3 years), Mark Streit($5.25million AAV, 2 years), RJ Umberger($4.6million AAV, 2 years) with the cap crunch they are in. With their bounty of defensive prospects, they may be able to use one of those in a package deal to get a deal done.
Thanks for reading!
Please comment any ideas you have, I'd love to hear them.