Decisions Looming for Dave Nonis and the Toronto Maple Leafs
Photo courtesy of Veronica Henri/Toronto Sun/QMI Agency
By Tony Ambrogio (@SNTonyAmbrogio)
Dave Nonis could have a busy few months ahead. And his decisions could impact the Leafs now and moving forward.
Nonis traded a 4th liner in Mike Brown to Edmonton and Matt Frattin is coming off a knee injury.
An issue that promises to be interesting to watch will be finding a spot for Joffrey Lupul, expected to return in the next week or two from an arm injury.
“He has not had any setbacks,” said Nonis when addressing Lupul’s recovery.
So who sits when Lupul returns? Does he play on the top line with Kessel, despite the solid play of James van Riemsdyk.
Funny to think that finding a spot for Lupul to play may be a difficult one, eh? Not many would have made that claim at the start of the season. Again it is not a big issue, but goes to show the Leafs depth this year.
On the defensive side of things, the Leafs signed blueliner Korbinian Holzer to a 2-year deal. So he looks to be part of the immediate future.
What about Jake Gardiner? Last year he had a marvelous rookie campaign, but has been hampered by a concussion and while he is healthy there is no room for him on the NHL club.
Meanwhile Mike Komisarek (cap hit of $4.5M) and John-Michael Liles (a cap hit of $3.875M) have been healthy scratches. The trade deadline is a month away could Komisarek (who has 1 more year at a cap hit of $4.5M) or Liles (3 more years of a cap hit at $3.875M) could be trade bait?
“Mike Komisarek has not asked for a trade,” said Nonis this week. Komisarek has a limited no trade clause.
While Carlyle said both Komisarek and Liles have been been “utmost professionals” Nonis will have to consider making a move of some kind, doesn’t he?
Then there is the Tyler Bozak contract situation. He is an unrestricted free agent after this season.
While Bozak has won 60% of his face-offs this year and has been the center on the top line with Phil Kessel, how much of a raise should he get?
He makes $1.4M this season so is he a $3M to $5M player a year? If he and his agent feel that way, would the Leafs agree? Mikhail Grabovski agreed to a 5-year $27.5M dollar deal a year ago. How does that impact Bozak’s deal?
While Clarke MacArthur, who makes $3.25M, is also an unrestricted free agent. What kind of salary structure suits him?
Then there are youngsters like Joe Colborne and Carter Ashton who could be part of the Leafs future. Colborne has battled through wrist injuries which slowed his development.
Does Colborne make the jump to the NHL (much like Nazem Kadri has this season) should Bozak sign elsewhere? Colborne is a restricted free agent after this season. The Leafs will have to make a call on him soon.
Then there is the Phil Kessel situation. He has just one year left on a deal that has him earning $5.4M. How much more will he seek as a free agent? Do the Leafs try and sign him to an extension now?
As you see there is plenty for Dave Nonis and his staff to deal with.
The Leafs have some cap room, having just 13 players under contract next season ($47.2M) and just 5 players signed ($21.1M) the 2014-2015 season.