- Terry Koshan of the Toronto Sun: Maple Leafs Phil Kessel will have a $5.4 million salary and cap hit. He can’t sign an extension until after July 5th, and Koshan thinks the Leafs would foolish to not extend him. Kessel’s agent indicated that he wants to remain with the Leafs.
- Kevin McGran of the Toronto Star: Leafs GM Dave Nonis will have some offseason questions to consider. Do the Leafs look to extend Phil Kessel, Dion Phaneuf and James Reimer. Kessel could look for upwards of $7 million a season. Can the Leafs even ask their captain to take a pay cut from his $6.4 million salary? Reimer would be due for a big raise from his $1.8 million salary if he’s a No. 1 goalie.
The Leafs UFA list includes: Tyler Bozak, Clarke MacArthur, Colton Orr, Ryan O’Byrne and Mike Kostka. Bozak could be looking for Mikhail Grabovski-type money. MacArthur didn’t have good regular season and the Leafs are deep on the wings. Orr will likely be back. O’Bryne will likely be gone. Kostka’s play declined as the season went on, but could be brought back for depth.
The Leafs RFA list includes: Nazem Kadri, Cody Franson, Leo Komarov, Joe Colborne, Matt Frattin, Carl Gunnarsson and Mark Fraser. The Leafs could play hardball with Kadri in attempt to keep his salary low. Franson led the Leafs defenseman in scoring. The others are likely to be back. Frattin could be MacArthur’s replacement on the third line. Colborne appears to be ready for the next step.
Compliance Buyout Possibilities: Mikhail Grabovski, Mike Komisarek and John-Michael Liles. Komisarek may be no-brainer, freeing up his $4.5 million cap hit. Liles has 3 years at $3.875 million a season. Grabovski has 4 years left at $5.5 million a season. Nonis may look to trade both Liles and Grabovski.
- Howard Berger of Berger Bytes: Berger thinks the Leafs should save the money on Tyler Bozak, give Joe Colborne Bozak’s spot, and sign David Clarkson or make a trade.
“Colborne has enviable skill,” an Eastern Conference scout told me this week. “If he can bring his emotional game to a similar level – even half the time – Leafs won’t have to worry about a No. 1 center. From what I hear, they like the kid, and I think he’s worthy of a long look in the NHL. There aren’t going to be a lot of centers with decent price-points on the market in July.”
UFA center options are not that young: Patrick Elias (37), Andy MacDonald (35), Nik Antropov (35) and Mike Ribeiro (33). Stephen Weiss and Derek Roy are 30, and will want more money.
The Leafs and Devils could talk about Clarkson before July 5th about obtaining his rights to discuss a long-term deal before he hit the open market.