Toronto Maple Leafs' Free Agent Targets
By Lukas Hardonk (@LukasHardonk)
Toronto Maple Leafs GM Dave Nonis got the NHL off-season going on Sunday with one of the first big trades of summer 2013. The trade market is just one way the Maple Leafs plan to improve this summer with a free agent crop that is also full of appealing players set to open up.
With July 5 only eight days away, it's time to look at who the Maple Leafs are likely to consider as free agent options when the signing period begins.
Ribeiro is a 33-year-old NHL veteran who, with more than 600 points in 785 career regular season games, knows how to produce. Not only that but he isn't afraid to speak his mind either. Ribeiro's talent as a top-six centreman is undeniable and with the possibility of Tyler Bozak making his way out of town, Ribeiro would be a nice addition.
Another potential addition down the middle for the Maple Leafs, Roy is a play making centreman who would be a nice compliment to the likes of Phil Kessel and Joffrey Lupul. There are a couple knocks on Roy, though; most notably his size.
Horton is a proven point producer who stepped up for the Boston Bruins in the 2013 playoffs with 19 points in 22 games. He regularly scores 20-plus goals and is a veteran of the NHL. Although it wouldn't be wise for the Maple Leafs to let Clarke MacArthur walk, Horton would be a nice replacement at the right price.
Clowe, 30, struggled to score this season but would be a solid addition to the Leafs' bottom-six forward group. Someone who plays with an edge, Clowe along with Nikolai Kulemin and Jay McClement would be one of the best checking lines in the league.
In terms of where he would fit in with the Maple Leafs, Weiss is no different than Derek Roy. It's no secret that the Leafs are looking to improve up front, especially down the middle, and Weiss would fit the mold. However it is unlikely neither Wiess nor Roy would be the Leafs' plan A.
Clarkson will fall into a nice contract no matter where he lands. It seems unlikely that he will re-sign in New Jersey and being a Toronto boy combined with the fact that he is the type of player the Leafs want has many wondering if he will sign with the blue and white. He is coming off another great season and has reached the 30-goal plateau in the past, so expect Clarkson to draw big money.
"Bogosian skates as well as any NHL defenceman, hits with a vengeance, has a booming slap shot and, as demonstrated last season, is becoming an on-ice leader for the Jets."
What team doesn't want that type of player? Let's also not forget that the Leafs badly need an upgrade on defence and with both Ben Scrivens and Matt Frattin having been shipped to Los Angeles, GM Dave Nonis has lost a significant amount of trade bait. Maybe it's time to take a run at a restricted free agent like Bogosian.
Whitney's time with the Edmonton Oilers has undoubtedly come to an end after an injury-riddled tenure. When he was healthy, though, Whitney was a force on the back-end. He can produce at a high level while shutting down the opposition when at the top of his game, making him a wise acquisition at the right price.
Scuderi has been a key piece of multiple championship teams during his time in the NHL. In fact, as Andy Green notes here, the Pittsburgh Penguins still miss the contributions Scuderi made to their championship run almost four years after letting him go. The only issue is that with Bernier now having been traded, the Kings are believed to be heavily negotiating with Scuderi in order to stop him from leaving town.
Honourable mentions: Ryan McDonagh, Kevin Shattenkirk, Ian White, Jeff Halpern, Anthony Stewart and Michael Ryder.
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