Part 2: The Toronto Maple Leafs in the 2012 free agent market.

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Today I will discuss who the Leafs should pursue this off season in the free agent market.

You can click here for how the Leafs roster should look after they have made their off season acquisitions.

I will start things off by saying that all the recent talk about Brian Burke quitting or getting fired is completely and utter BS. Yes he probably wants a contract extension and Yes if the Leafs fail to make the playoffs again in 2013 then he may well be a dead man walking. However until then BB's job is quite safe here in Toronto and I expect him to get his extension regardless of if the team makes the playoffs as long as they are developing good prospects.

The prospects that might buy him an extension would be Alex Galchenyuk and Nail Yakupov. As it has been reported today that Brian Burke is looking to obtain both somehow. This report comes from Yakupov and Galchenyuk's agent, the former great Red Wings player, Igor Larionov. So take this rumour for what it is, and that is just a rumour, as it could simply be a ploy by Larionov to make sure that his clients go one two in the draft this year.

But without further ado I will now present who should be on the Leafs radar in the Free Agent market this summer.

Leafs 2012 Free Agent Signings:

Ryan Suter

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Age: 27
Plays: Defence
Currently makes: $3,500,000

Everybody knows that Ryan Suter is due for a raise this off-season from his $3.5 million deal that expires on July 1st. The question now is more; How much? What kind of terms? And where is he willing to go to get these?

I posit to Brian Burke that Ryan Suter is perhaps the most valuable free agent in the market this summer and would be a great fit on a Randy Carlyle team. Much the same way Chris Pronger was a great fit on the Anaheim Mighty Ducks team coached by Carlyle and built by Burke.


 
 
Let me first premise my analysis on a Leafs-Nash trade by saying that it would take a lot of work on the Leafs part and a whole lot of luck. 

That being said I believe that Brian Burke is not interested in making it to the playoffs and losing in the first round, second round or even the conference finals. It is all about winning a Stanley Cup in Toronto and thus if the Leafs make the playoffs this year the outcome will be only incidental to their eventual goal. I think that Burkie knows that the Leafs are not going to win the cup this year because they are not talented enough, they aren’t far enough along in their development and they don’t have consistent goaltending. I like the Leafs and I am a fan but we need to face facts and that is with the team as it stands, and with hopefully no high first round picks in the near future (unless acquired via trade), being a cup contender is not an eventuality for the Leafs. 
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So my proposition is that the Leafs blow up the team to a certain extent to acquire A+ talent and work on redeveloping the farm in the next couple of years. I propose we do this by acquiring Ryan Suter and Anders Lindback from the Preds to start off and then acquiring Nash and perhaps Mason from the Jackets. Jeff Carter is also an interesting option that could be pursued if Burke knows something about the new CBA that the rest of us don’t but otherwise the contract is just too long.

I would hope that the Leafs could acquire Suter and Lindback from the preds for Komisarek, Holzer or Aulie, Grabovski and Gustavsson. Some of these parts could be interchangeable as Schenn would be in play as a substitute for the Holzer-Aulie spot and Blacker could be thrown in there if the Preds would take him as such.  Komisarek would be a contract dump which Nashville could afford but if they don’t want him he could be waived or pawned onto another team hopefully. Also I would like to keep Grabo and thus would prefer to get rid of Macarthur, Connolly, Lombardi or Armstrong instead but I think it would take Grabo and is expendable as a second line center with Colbourne and Kadri presenting cheaper options. The Leafs could also throw in up to a second rounder as well. So in summary the dream deal is Suter and Lindback from the Preds for Komisarek, Holzer, Grabovski and Gustavsson from the Leafs with a Tim Connolly throw in.  The most the Leafs should pay for Suter and Lindback is Aulie, Grabovski, Macarthur and 2nd round pick.


 
 
Brother's Justice
Well at a time where the media and Hollywood are constantly ridiculed for being out of touch with the common man, this movie takes that problem, exacerbates it, and then brings it back to the common man.

The movie, Brother's Justice, is shot as a mockumentary following Dax Shepard, an out of touch Hollywood comedian who believes he deserves more money and fame. He plans to accomplish his goal by disowning his roots in comedy and becoming an action star like Chuck Norris. He and long time friend, Nate Tuck, try and pitch a movie called Brother's Justice. The movie is set to star Dax Shepard as one of the Justice brothers, where he will fight his way down a hill to save his brother (a typical Hollywood action movie pitch, but usually articulated differently).


 
 
The big three for the Heat. From left to right: Bosh, Wade and James.
This is a question I have often asked myself throughout these NBA playoffs. Everytime I have come up with the same answer; "They are VERY good." 

Good enough to win a NBA championship?
Absolutely!

Lets face facts, they have two players that may well go down in history as the best ever to play their position. These players of course being Lebron "King" James and Dwayne "Flash" Wade. On top of that they have a perennial All-Star in Chris Bosh. The rest of the leagues only hope at the beginning of the season was that the Heats top three would not gel together and the added pressure of being demonized by the media would tear them apart. On top of the fact that the three have now gelled together offensively the team has come together to be one of if not the top team in the league defensively. A situation that nobody would have predicted at the beginning of the season and is a testament to the work ethic and character of the top three. Both of which were things that were questioned when they all signed on with the Heat in 2010.

Dwyane Wade trying for a block on Dirk Nowitzki
This is a question I have often asked myself throughout these NBA playoffs. Everytime I have come up with the same answer; "They are VERY good." 

Good enough to win a NBA championship?
Absolutely!

Lets face facts, they have two players that may well go down in history as the best ever to play their position. These players of course being Lebron "King" James and Dwyane "Flash" Wade. On top of that they have a perennial All-Star in Chris Bosh. The rest of the leagues only hope at the beginning of the season was that the Heats top three would not gel together and the added pressure of being demonized by the media would tear them apart. On top of the fact that the three have now gelled together offensively the team has come together to be one of if not the top team in the league defensively. A situation that nobody would have predicted at the beginning of the season and is a testament to the work ethic and character of the top three. Both of which were things that were questioned when they all signed on with the Heat in 2010.

Lebron James of the Miami Heat skies in for a dunk
It is now June and we are in the NBA finals with Miami and Dallas facing off for NBA supremacy. This has got two be the worst nightmare situation for 29 of the NBA teams. This is because now the question has to change from; Are they good enough to win this year? to How many years will they win?

I know it seems early to be looking beyond this finals series, but I honestly do not believe it will make much of a difference in the grand scheme of things. I say this because Miami will not be judged on this years championship, although it might help silence some of the haters. Miami will ultimately be judged by the number of championships they win and not how they were won. I predict they will win this series against Dallas as they have proven to be resilient coming off of losses, they are younger and will fair better in a long series because of this, they have a proven champion in Wade and most of all they are just too talented for Dallas. 

In the event that Dirk goes off and Dallas is able to beat the Heat in the 2011 NBA finals, there is no doubt in my mind that Miami will be back next year perhaps with some new under paid championship seeking role players and a more experienced core. They will then probably get back to the same position next year and the year after that and so on. The question will then become more apparent: How many championships will the Heat win? 1? 2? 7? 8? Who knows, but I am sure excited to watch and find out.


Watch the NBA finals games live streaming here

Cheers