As Burke finishes signing the remaining RFAs, it has come to the attention of many fans that the Leafs are slowly developing a surplus of bodies on both forward and defense. Hypothetically, if the season started tomorrow, the Leafs project line-up could look like this:
Lupul – Connolly – Kessel
MacArthur – Grabovski – Kulemin
Kadri – Bozak – Armstrong
Orr – Boyce – Brown
Phaneuf – Aulie
Franson – Schenn
JML – Gunnarson
Other forwards available are Rosehill, Frattin, Dupuis, and Lombardi (if healthy) while on defense Komisarek and Finger still remain as well. As enticing as it seems, I believe it remains highly unlikely that Burke buries Komisarek and Finger in the AHL to free up 8 million in cap space.
The majority of us expect Burke at some point will make a hard run at either Stamkos or Parise by packaging up Kadri, Schenn, + to get the deal accomplished and finally giving the Leafs the #1 center we have all dreamed about.
I do not believe this is the route Burke takes...yet. The nucleus of the team from last season obtained some mild success at the close of the 2010 campaign when the pressure was off. If Burke is presented a blockbuster trade that improves the team he will; however, I believe his statement of ‘standing pat’ is correct.
Several teams have yet to reach the salary cap floor; therefore, adding the likes of Komi or Finger for a draft pick and/or prospect is highly possible. I believe this route is more probable to occur than the aforementioned ‘blockbuster’ deal at this point. Burke needs to yet again trim some of the fat from the roster before another player is added.
It would not surprise me if Burke went into the season with the above line-up and approximately 8-10 million available in cap space. The young nucleus of this team needs a chance to succeed and prove they are capable of developing into a Stanley Cup contender. If the team fails again right out of the gate, Burke would have the assets and cap space to make a significant move early-mid season.
What do you think? Should Burke go for the ‘blockbuster’ now to get the Leafs the #1 center or wait and see what this team looks like in training camp?