Toronto Maple Leafs
Pending UFAs – Dave Bolland, Nikolai Kulemin, Jay McClement, Mason Raymond, Troy Bodie, Paul Ranger, T.J. Brennan, Drew MacIntyre
Pending RFAs - Peter Holland, Jerry D’Amigo, Spencer Abbott, James Reimer, Carter Ashton
Looking to add
– The Leafs need size up the middle and more physicality on defense. Many Leafs fans (or non-fans, for that matter) will opine that the team also needs a No. 1 center, but really – most teams need that. If Toronto were to target Brian Boyle to replace McClement, they would have a 6-foot-7 centerman coming off a Stanley Cup final appearance. Nothing against McClement, who has been great, but with Boyle having similar success at the faceoff dot (52.9 percent) the upgrade in size would be worthwhile. Boyle only offers fantasy value in hits and faceoff wins, but unless Toronto makes a trade, you probably won’t see an impact fantasy player coming aboard.
Brooks Orpik is another player who could be targeted, as he offers bone-crushing hits and a “scare factor” on the blueline that the team currently lacks.
Granted, the Leafs could (and should) take a good hard look at skilled pivot Paul Stastny. A move like that would drop Tyler Bozak to the third line where he would offer tremendous two-way play and 40-point offense. But most teams will be targeting Stastny, who is the top center available. The cost will probably shock us. Would Toronto pay it? Adding Stastny would either necessitate trading Nazem Kadri, or it would keep Peter Holland out of the NHL (which would be a shame).
Ready for full time
– Holland was ready for the NHL last year, but the numbers game pushed him back to the Toronto Marlies. He’s capable of running a third line and posting 35 points in the season ahead – more if the centermen ahead of him are injured and he gets long looks on a scoring line. What the Leafs do this off-season will impact Holland greatly, as he could end up anywhere between third-line center and press-box water boy.
Carter Ashton has finally found that extra gear offensively in the AHL, posting nearly a point per game for the Marlies. But in the NHL, his niche will be on the checking line and if he can stick around full time he has a real shot at 150-plus hits in the coming season.
Jerry D’Amigo showed a lot of energy during cups of coffee with the Leafs, but his decision-making and finish left something to be desired. But in the Calder Cup playoffs he has really shone, posting 14 points in 13 games. Still, his NHL future lies on the third line and his offense will probably never reach 40 points.
If you like long shots, Spencer Abbott is 26 years old and undersized at 5-foot-9. But he’s one of the best offensive players the AHL has to offer. However, he doesn’t get his nose dirty, doesn’t fight for pucks as much as he needs to in order to make it to the NHL and he creates his offense from the outside. The “long shot” I mentioned above would require both Bozak and Kadri to get injured and Abbott to then have a Mark Arcobello-type of impact when he gets the call. Possible, but highly doubtful.
– Say what you want about the Leafs, goal scoring is not a problem with this team. They finished 14th in the league in goals in 2013-14 and that was considered an off-year for many of their players (the team finished sixth in goal scoring in 2012-13). From an offensive standpoint, when it comes to the prospects, there are really only three worth keeping an eye on – Holland, Matt Finn and Connor Brown, with the latter two being several years away. Fantasy Grade: C+ (last year was B)