The Toronto Maple Leafs are pretty much assured to be one of the busiest teams in the NHL this off-season. New team president Brendan Shanahan and general manager Dave Nonis will be doing all they can to make moves that they believe will help the Leafs get back into the playoffs and ultimately, keep them there for years to come.
However, with those moves, players who played with the Leafs in the 2013-14 season will be on their toes, wanting to know if they will be back for the 2014-15 season. The Leafs have six players set to be unrestricted free agents and four additional players set to be restricted free agents. It will be interesting to watch which Leafs the Leafs will bring back.
Then, of course, their is trades to consider. Nonis has yet to make a real blockbuster-type of deal that was the norm under Brian Burke. That might change this summer.
So, with all that, who will be brought back? Who will be gone. Here is a list of the Leafs roster along with an explanation on whether someone will be back or not.
Phil Kessel- Returns
Not even a question. Kessel is going to be back in a Leafs jersey next season. Nothing else needs to be said.
Joffrey Lupul- Traded
This one might be a reach, but I think the Leafs will find a taker for Lupul. It will be sad to see him go, but dealing him would give the Leafs some cap relief.
David Clarkson- Returns
Not much choice here. After the contract he signed last season, he did more than disappoint Leaf fans. He’ll get the chance to rebound next season.
James van Riemsdyk- Returns
The only chance that JVR doesn’t return to the Leafs is if they receive a trade offer that knocks them on their behind.
Tyler Bozak- Returns
Signed a new contract and of course, you have to keep Kessel happy.
Dave Bolland- Traded
His supposed contract demands are too high. Better to trade him to a team that would like some extra negotiating time and get something out of him.
Nazem Kadri- Returns
Now I’m not saying that the Leafs won’t try. I just don’t think the Leafs will find what they are looking for in a return.
Nikolai Kulemin- Signs Elsewhere
The longest-reigning Leaf will finally end his tenure with the Blue & White.
Jay McClement- Signs Elsewhere
The Leafs should easily be able to replace a fourth-line center, either with a free agent signing or a Toronto Marlie getting promoted.
Mason Raymond- Returns
He deserves the raise from the $1 million he made this year. I think the Leafs are the team that should give him that raise.
Colton Orr- Returns
The Leafs simply have to ride out his contract.
Troy Bodie- Returns
Bodie was a late signing last season and when he played with the Leafs this season, he looked to be a dependable bottom-six player.
Dion Phaneuf- Returns
A lot of Leafs fans would like to see him traded, but it’s not happening. He might however, not return as captain.
Tim Gleason- Returns
Gleason has two more years remaining on his contract and he should be able to serve as reliable shut-down defenseman in that time.
Carl Gunnarsson- Returns
Gunnarsson is that player on the Leafs you never really hear anything out of. That’s a good thing. He doesn’t make that many mistakes.
Cody Franson- Traded
There will be plenty of NHL teams looking for a defenseman of Franson’s caliber. After the season he had this year, the Leafs will be forced to sell low.
Paul Ranger- Signs Elsewhere
It was a nice one-year experiment, but it didn’t quite workout. Time to cut their losses
Morgan Rielly- Returns
Another no-doubter. Rielly is the Leafs best young defenseman. He is the cornerstone of the Leafs future blueline.
Jake Gardiner -Traded
Unlike Kadri, I think Gardiner is a lot more moveable than Kadri. He’ll either be traded for a more experienced d-man or in a package to move up in the draft.
Jonathan Bernier- Returns
He proved himself to be the Leafs No. 1 goalie this season and that won’t change anytime soon.
James Reimer- Traded
Another case in which the Leafs will have to sell low. Drew MacIntyre can serve as back-up next year. Reimer can either be traded for a draft pick or in a bigger package deal.