of Hockey’s most storied franchises, the Toronto Maple Leafs, are in the midst
of a low point in their history. The team is currently in rebuilding mode and
looking towards the future. As of March 18, 2016, they have the lowest point
total in the league, but there are reasons for optimism. After trading away
Dion Phaneuf, James Reimer and others at the trade deadline, the team has a
plethora of draft capital and cap space to work with.
team has been getting an extended look at some of its young talent this season.
Zach Hyman, Nikita Soshnikov and William Nylander, the 8th overall
pick in the 2014 draft, have all performed very well in their first NHL action.
Here is a snapshot of what fans can look forward to this summer as the team
continues to rebuild.
Free Agents: The two most notable free agents for the Leafs are Center Nazeem
Kadri and Right Wing Michael Grabner. Kadri, the team’s leader in points, is a
solid player but may be the victim of a numbers game. If the team can acquire
two other highly coveted centers (discussed later), there will be no need for
Kadri. However, if one or both of those two are unavailable, he will likely be
back with the team. Grabner, acquired in a trade in September 2015, has been a
major disappointment. He has the highest salary on the team and will likely not
Picks: Every team this year is “battling” for the right to have the top pick as
there is a clear top player available. Auston Matthews, the Arizona born
Forward currently playing in Zurich, would likely be slotted in as a center for
Toronto if they win the rights to draft him. While he is not projected to be a
generational talent like Sidney Crosby or Connor McDavid, he is best player available
in this draft and would be a coup for Toronto. If Matthews is not available,
the team will have to consider taking Alex Nylander, the brother of their
future star who is also a top prospect.
Agent Additions: Toronto is definitely in the running to score the crown jewel
of Free Agency. Steven Stamkos, the 26 year old Captain of the Tampa Bay
Lightning, will be the target of every team in the league. The Center is a
perennial All-Star and one of the most dynamic players in the NHL. He grew as a
Maple Leafs fan and lives in the area in the offseason, so the rumor mill has
been working projecting Stamkos joining the team.
the team could use some veteran defensive help. Keith Yandle of the New York
Rangers and Kris Russell of the Dallas Stars are the top two defensemen
available to add an experienced blue liner to help the
younger players develop.
Labels: Eric Bokobza