Over the first two days of free agency, the Toronto Maple Leafs have lost most of their unrestricted free agents. Dave Bolland, Nikolai Kulemin, Jay McLement and Mason Raymond have flew the coop. In return, the Leafs have brought in former Leafs Leo Komarov and Matt Frattin as well as defenseman Stephane Robidas.
With those additions, along with the acquisition of Roman Polak from St. Louis, the Leafs have filled a lot of holes in the past few weeks. Their top three lines appear set. If Joffrey Lupul and David Clarkson have bounce back years on the second line, the Leafs will be in even better shape. The defense looks to be a lot harder to play against with the acquisitions of Polak and Robidas and it’s nearly a sure thing that general manager Dave Nonisn will look to add another defenseman. However, their biggest need falls on the fourth line.
With the loss of McClement, the Leafs lose one of, if not their top faceoff man. They also lose of their top penalty-killers. Someone needs to be brought in to replace that. Now, there are some Toronto Marlies that could be ready to step in on the wing and maybe 2013 first-rounder Frederik Gauthier is ready to take on a fourth-line role, but I believe the answer lies in free agency.
Zenon Konopka might just be the perfect fit for the Leafs. Sure, he’d have to miss the first 20 games of the season for violating the NHL’s substance abuse program, but he would fit the Leafs needs. Konopka is known around the league for being an enforcer. However, unlike some of the current enforcers on the Leafs roster, Konopka has another piece to his game and that is the fact that he is pretty good on faceoffs.
The Toronto Maple Leafs love their tough players. They also need to replace the faceoff ability of McClement. Zenon Konopka would take care of both.