We all know that the Toronto Maple Leafs have been a troubled team over the past few years missing the playoffs again for another year (a Leaf franchise record now) but they are in the middle of what is often called a rebuilding mode.
Over the past few seasons we saw them shed a number of players in an attempt to give the team’s youth more ice time. Some of the players that were let go over the past year included Mats Sundin, Bryan McCabe, Nik Antropov, Dominik Mora, Darcy Tucker, Pavel Kubina, Martin Gerber, Brad May, Boyd Devereaux, Tim Stapleton and Curtis Joseph. There has also been a major change with the General Manager and coaches. Bryan Burke has come to the team to try and turn the franchise around and Ron Wilson was brought in as head coach for the 2008-09 season.
The Leafs did not just cut and trade away players, they also added some new names to the roster that include Mike Komisarek, Francois Beauchemin, Garnet Exelby, Colin Stuart, Colton Orr, Wayne Primeau and Jonas Gustavsson.Adding players like Komisarek, Beauchemin and Exelby shows that the leafs are trying to regain a tougher image as well as a younger squad.
The Leafs also have plenty of salary cap room left to play with, so we should look forward to seeing Burke fills that space with some players from teams like SanJose, Boston and Calgary that still need to add players but shed salary. The Leafs are therefore very well positioned to act as a salary dump one of of those teams looking to free up some space in order to improve their team. The question is which teams are running out of cap space and still have roster spots to fill? And who will Burke find to help the team finally make it back into the playoffs.