Toronto Maple Leafs’ Off-Season Options

 
Zach Parise Devils

What will happen with Zach Parise? (Mark Goldman/Icon SMI)

With the off-season all but upon us, one thing is clear, the Toronto Maple Leafs have some decisions to make in order to improve for next season.  It’s evident that one year of additional experience for players like Matt Frattin, Nazem Kadri, Jake Gardiner and even Luke Schenn will make the Leafs a better team.  But many believe that the team must make a big splash in order to improve one of their key opportunity areas in advance of the season.  As fans and pundits of the clubs I ask you in the spirit of Mark Messier and his potato chip ads, if you could have just one of the following alternate captains/captains which one would you go with?

Roberto Luongo – Goaltender – Vancouver Canucks (Former Captain)

 

scores against Luongo

(Icon SMI)

A year ago, this veteran 33 year old netminder, currently under contract with the Vancouver Canucks was within 3 periods from sipping from the Stanley Cup.  A year later, at the end of season interviews after his club was briskly eliminated in the first round by the Los Angeles Kings, Luongo left the door open to a possible trade.  Despite being labeled as ‘unable to handle the pressure’ in Vancouver, Luongo is one of the league’s most talented goaltenders.  He’s also one of the highest paid with 10 years remaining on his contract.  If Brian Burke and the Leafs do work out a trade for Luongo, it will have to be at a discount simply due to the term associated with the Olympic Goalie’s contract.  See the details of Luongo and his cap hit at capgeek.com.  The question would then be, if Luongo couldn’t hack it in Vancouver, how could he handle media mad Toronto?  Is this a smart move for Brian Burke and would Luongo make Toronto a playoff team?  Check out his career stats from hockeydb.com

Zack Parise – Center – Free Agent

When the New Jersey Devils outbid the Los Angeles Kings for superstar Ilya Kovalchuk they knew they were gambling with the future of Captain Zach Parise.  The tie in to the Toronto Maple Leafs is obvious.  Brian Burke loves the American players and although he isn’t a big guy at 5’11, 185lbs, he plays big.  What he has done with the Devils this post season has been tremendous and Parise was also a key member of Team USA in the Vancouver 2010 Olympics.  Flat out, this kid at just 27, soon to be 28, can play.  He has managed 410 points in 502 career games.  What is perhaps even more astounding is that he has played 81 or 82 games in all but one of his 7 NHL seasons.  So does Parise want to leave Jersey?  Will Lou Lamoriello be around to try and extend him?  Can the Devils afford him?  All of these questions will need to be answered before July 1st and you can be sure that if he does become available that the Leafs will be a player.  check out his career stats from hockeydb.com

Ryan Suter Predators

Ryan Suter is a big time defenseman (Icon SMI)

Ryan Suter – Defenseman – Free Agent

Suter is your prototypical top 2 defenseman.  He can play the body, he can skate with the puck and he has a big shot.  But what makes Suter so valuable as a free agent is that he is a calm collected defensive minded blue liner.  He makes everyone around him including the goaltender that much better.  Suter plays big minutes and will help make the likes of Dion Phaneuf, Luke Schenn and his former teammate Cody Franson  better players.  As was the case with Parise, Suter is an American and will be a good fit under the watchful eye of Brian Burke.  But with the Predators on the verge of doing something special in Nashville, is Suter willing to jump ship to come to a team that hasn’t made the playoffs for 7 seasons?  There’s no question about the fact that Suter would make the Leafs a better team, but can they afford to spend any more money on their blue line?  Check out his career stats at hockeydb.com

Rick Nash Blue Jackets

Rick Nash (Jeanine Leech/Icon SMI)

Rick Nash – Winger – Columbus Blue Jackets

That Rick Nash is available or that he wants to leave Columbus are not questions that need answering.  Which teams are in interested in the large, speedy winger, what they’ll be willing to pay and what the Blue Jackets are looking to get back are the only outstanding items to be decided.  The Maple Leafs could clearly be in contention for the Canadian Olympian and he would be a tremendous addition to the Leafs and their top line.   The Blue Jackets meanwhile could not afford to lose the trade that would send Nash from the only professional team and city he has ever known.  The rumors at the trade deadline mentioned that any interested team would have to part with as many as 4 key pieces from their roster/system.  Would the Blue and White have what the Blue Jackets would want in a package for Nash?  If by chance they did, would it be wise to trade these pieces to Columbus for what many see as an underachieving forward.  I can only remind you that many viewed Nash as the second best forward in 2010 at the Winter Olympics.  The Nash sweepstakes will be an interesting summer story to follow.  Check out his career stats at hockeydb.com

I’m sure fans around Greater Toronto and beyond will be interested to see if the Toronto Maple Leafs are involved in acquiring any of these 4 players.  This team will always seem to find a way to be involved in acquiring big name players in the off-season.  While it is unfair to paint the Leafs as being in contention for any of these 4 players or even that these players are available, one thing is for sure, this year’s cup champion Los Angeles Kings were able to scoop up Philadelphia Captain Mike Richards much to the surprise of the other general managers.   I often remind myself that even Wayne Gretzky was traded and so anything can happen.  So Leaf fans, I ask you, if you could have just one, which would it be?

Stephen Stoneman

Stephen Stoneman

Stephen is a writer for thehockeywriters.com covering the Toronto Maple Leafs and other Hockey Matters. Stephen attended Canadore College in North Bay, Ontario where he studied Broadcast Journalism and covered local sports for both Radio and Television. This included news coverage for the OHL's North Bay Centennials. In his personal time, Stephen blogs for his several fantasy hockey leagues.
Stephen Stoneman

11 Comments

  1. I like the idea of Luongo.  Bottom line is, I just don’t feel comfortable with Reimer as our #1 in net.  Although I think it would be a lot easier to get Parise or Suter.  I personally feel that if Kessel and Lupul can pull off a season similar to the previous, we need to focus more on D.  Some of the younger guys like Bozak will continue to improve and put up substantial points as long as we have a solid defense and experienced net minder.

  2. The only one of those guys I think is an option for the Leafs isLuongo and I don`t want him unless they take Komisarek or some other contract we don`t want!!!

  3. I think Louongo would do well as a leaf. Mainly because with the lack of playoffs in Toronto since the last lockout all it would take is a playoff birth followed by a strong playoff showing and Lou will be hailed as a god by the media most likely even if they go out first round. Again that’s assuming it’s a strong showing and not a complete flop, if they flop then ya could be Vancouver all over again for him. That’s just my thinking anyways.

  4. Twin_centre_11 says:

    sign suter and trade schenn and optimus reimer and throw in komisarek for nash and steve mason. trade mason and franson and colby armstrong  for luango and sign parise

    • Twin_centre_11 says:

      throw in next years first and second and the folowing years third round pick with the nash mason deal

  5. I would love to see Luongo in a Leafs uniform. Would do one of two things. Ensure the Leafs make the playoffs next season or ensure Burke a ticket out of town. Either is good in my books.

  6. Personally, none of these guys seem like a top priority. They’re pretty locked up in cap with their blue line, and unless they move out Phaneuf, Schenn, or Komisarek’s contract, then I don’t think Suter should be a priority. 
    Nash would be a ridiculous amount to pick up; most likely Gardiner, 1st Rd. pick, prospects (Kadri, Colbourne, or Frattin), and maybe more. Don’t think it would benefit them, when they have Kessel, and Lupul who’s a former right winger. 
    Parise and Luongo would be the best bets, however, still unsure if Luongo would succeed under the media here either. Too much publicity over him not winning a cup in Vancouver, and having to come to a less successful team, and try and succeed in a identical market as Vancouver. Nonetheless, he’s still a top 10 goalie for me, and it would benefit Reimer to have a seasoned guy like him to take pressure off our younger goalie. Parise would be nice, but not sure if he wants to come over to the Leafs. 
    Even with Luongo’s pros and cons, the Leafs are in need of a new face between the pipes, and he remains a starting goalie in my books, they most likely won’t have to give up nearly as much for him, then Nash. With everyone eyeing Suter, and Parise, it’s unlikely Toronto will land either. 

    • PLEASE DON’T SIGN OR TRADE FOR   “Luon- “goals”.  This guy is on his down-down side. If he couldn’t win a cup with Vancouver !!!  Do you really think hes going to do ANYTHING  in Toronto. I’d take any of the others before him.  Luongo is definetly not the answer. But yes we all know, none of these guys will end up in a leafs uniform. But we will see the sights of Komisarek and Rosehill. And unless you can really get something in return , don’t trade (give up) Luke schenn just yet. Hes still young and learning.

      • It all depends on the cost, but I believe Luongo’s a viable option. Toronto is in need of a veteran goalie. I don’t expect Totonto to win the cup with Luongo, but I don’t expect them to make it without him either. Totonto’s a developing team, and it was obvious  two young goalies didn’t work for them. Why not bring in a guy to help the young core make the playoffs, to gain the needed experience. Sure the contract isn’t tempting to any team, but at the right price, why not go for him? It’s not like there is a lineup of goalies on the market, and this is their top priority this off-season.

  7. This was a poorly written article.  Roberto Luongo is not a free agent, and Zach Parise is not a center.  

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