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It’s that time again. The Stanley Cup Final is almost over, and the 28 National Hockey League teams that are not playing for the biggest prize in hockey have commenced their 2011 off-season.
Perhaps the biggest parts of every off-season is free agency. It gives teams a chance to shape their roster almost exactly the way they want it to look for the upcoming season. But first, teams must be sure that they lock up impending free agents on their own team.
The Toronto Maple Leafs have a lot of decisions to make when it comes to securing their players. In total, 21 Maple Leafs are set to hit the open market. General manager Brian Burke and company have just under four months to sign current roster players.
Here is a list of those players and which ones you should expect to see the Maple Leafs re-sign, with ‘Y’ representing yes and ‘N’ representing no:
N – Jean-Sebastien Giguere
Now 34 years of age, Giguere has begun to fall out of the Maple Leafs’ plans. He was shaky at best last season with a .900 save percentage and 11-11-4 record. Being 34 years of age, Giguere doesn’t exactly have a leg up on Leafs goaltending prospects Jussi Rynnas and Ben Scrivens.
Y – Tim Brent
Brent is a little-known bottom-six forward who made great contributions to the Maple Leafs last season. His energy and never give up attitude are second to none, while his penalty killing abilities are outstanding. Take a look:
All of this for a cheap price.
N – Fredrik Sjostrom
Like Brent, Sjostrom is an outstanding penalty killer. However, his statistics really dropped off last season. The 28-year-old veteran scored just two goals and three assists in 66 games.
Other impending UFAs:
N – Voros
Y – Richmond
Y – Boyce
Y – Crabb
Y – Rosehill
N – Zigomanis
Y – Luke Schenn
Schenn, 21, has seen a lot of success during his first three years in the league. He has 53 points in 231 career games and has been getting better and better defensively every season. Although Schenn won’t come at a cheap price, he won’t cost the Leafs an extreme amount. Locking up Schenn would mean locking up the future of the Maple Leafs’ defence.
Y – Clarke MacArthur
MacArthur had a career year last season. In 82 games, MacArthur scored 21 goals and 41 assists and became one of the team’s biggest leaders.
Y – Tyler Bozak
Even though Bozak had a really tough season in 2010-2011, he is still likely to receive an offer from the Maple Leafs. He had just 32 points in 82 games last season, but his 27 points in 37 games in 2009-2010 prove that he can play in the NHL. If Bozak has a bounce-back year next season, he could easily become a top-six centre for the Leafs.
Y – Carl Gunnarsson
Gunnarsson struggled at times last season, but overall he played well. He put up 20 points in 68 games and showed that he has great potential on defence. He would come at a relatively cheap price; no more than $1.2 million per season.
Other impending RFAs:
Y – Scrivens
Y – Irwin
Y – Caputi
N – Brunnstrom
N – Hanson
Y – Lashoff
Y – Scott
N – Hamilton
Lukas, a student at the University of Ottawa, covers the Toronto Maple Leafs on a part-time basis for The Hockey Writers. Contact Lukas at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter, @LukasHardonk.