Photo Credit: John E. Sokolowski/USA TODAY Sports
Is everyone’s favourite first line centre on his way out of town?
Asking price for Tyler Bozak appears to be a second round pick.
— Damien Cox (@DamoSpin) June 24, 2015
This is a very, very interesting tweet on several levels. For one, apparently Toronto’s front office has taken enough time away from the Phil Kessel/Dion Phaneuf trade efforts to actually set a price on Tyler Bozak. Also, I’m a little surprised that it’s only a second round pick. Lastly, someone out there has to have a need for centre depth and a spare pick lying around, no?
Bozak is not a top line talent, and I’m sure the rest of the NHL knows that, but I don’t think a 2nd round pick is too high a price for an established NHL centre that can play on either of your middle two lines. Furthermore, his $4.2M cap hit for three more years isn’t unreasonable, especially compared to other bloated contracts that other teams will be trying to unload this offseason. No, Bozak isn’t cheap, but I wouldn’t call his contract an anchor either. His on-ice play on the other hand…
If anything, setting the price at a second round pick tells me that the Leafs are looking to move on from Bozak quickly.
Calgary, as I joked about just now, could very well be a fit. They have three second round picks, a boatload of cap space, and I imagine they will look to add a couple pieces to remain competitive and push for another playoff berth. Also, Brian Burke is there, so there’s that.
Arizona could use him for an entirely different reason, since they’re so hilariously far under the salary floor and will need to make up ground pretty quickly. They have a spare second round pick this year as well.
Ultimately, this also depends on where Tyler Bozak wants to go. He does have a limited no-trade clause that will certainly limit Toronto’s options, but isn’t so restrictive that they can’t find a way to flip him.
And if this should all go down, what does Toronto look like without Bozak in the lineup? Well, the Leafs will need to be very active on the free agent market. Without him, the Leafs’ depth down the middle consists of Nazem Kadri, Peter Holland and… who, Casey Bailey? Even for a rebuilding team, that’s not nearly enough. I’m down for letting Kadri and Holland sink-or-swim as top six centres, but there needs to be another two or three bodies behind them, too. With no help on its way from the Marlies, it looks like the Leafs will need to bring in at least a couple free agents if they do decide to part ways with Bozak.
Right now, all we got is an asking price. It’s not much, but it could be met very quickly, so stay tuned for updates. Things are certainly beginning to heat up with about 48 hours remaining until the 2015 NHL Entry Draft, and it appears Toronto is trying pretty hard to add more picks to its cache.
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