The offseason is proceeding slowly for the Toronto Maple Leafs. Since the announcement that Randy Carlyle would be staying on as head coach, most of what we have been hearing has concerned Dion Phaneuf trade rumors.
Well, that can only go so far. Eventually, the NHL Draft will come and after that, free agency. While the Leafs will probably bring up some players from the Toronto Marlies and make a few trades, the Leafs should make a few moves in free agency.
What do the Leafs need? Well, with such a young team, it would probably be smart to add some veterans. As for which positions, since the Leafs stand the highest chance of losing wingers, defenseman and a backup goalie, those are the positions they should target.
The Leafs are probably going to lose Nikolai Kulemin and Mason Raymond to free agency. Jerry D’Amigo will probably take up one of those spots but the other should be taken up by a veteran. There are plenty of veteran wingers out there that could fill the void really well.
Finding a backup goalie should be easy. If the Leafs choose not to use Drew MacIntyre in the role, goalies like Brian Elliott, Jean-Sebastien Giguere, Ray Emery and others could easily backup Jonathan Bernier.
The biggest need is obviously defense. If the Leafs do end up trading Phaneuf, it will be an even bigger need. However, if they don’t, bringing in a veteran d-man will enable the Leafs to take some of the load off of Phaneuf. A blueliner like Dan Boyle or Kimmo Timonen would be ideal for the Leafs.
The Leafs should be a better team next season. With additions from the Marlies and the right moves in trades and free agency, they could be much better.