Shane O'Brien has reportedly signed a 3/yr deal with Colorado

Shane has reportedly signed a 3 year deal with the Colorado Avalanche with an annual cap hit of $2 million.

The burly defenseman intends on earning every scent of the $6 million dollar he just signed and hopes to stick in Colorado. O'Brien has bounced around the NHL up to this point in his career with the Avalanche beings his 5th team. Both Shane and the Avalanche hope that this signing will bring stability for both parties and he will be asked to help usher in young defensemen like Tyson Barrie into the organization.

Good luck Shane and well deserved.


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

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

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.

It's that time of year again when speculation and hopes are at a boiling point for the the blue and white. Of course things are no different here and I have some musings to do on the state of affairs for the Leafs and how we should proceed with perhaps a little bit of perspective mixed in.

I will discuss who the Leafs need to trade, who they should trade for, who they should sign and the why.

In brief it is my assessment that Toronto needs a goalie, a kick in the pants for the defense, size upfront and perhaps most importantly leadership.

To see how Toronto's roster should look come the start of the season including Cap information please click here. Just make sure you come back here to see how and to comment on how you disagree or agree with my changes.

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. 
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.