A section of Leafs fans have been in a little bit of panic over the last couple days because the team hasn’t put a lot of its dead weight on planes out of town yet. Most notably, Tyler Bozak still hasn’t been moved, and according to Friedman yesterday, there’s a decent chance he could stick around.
That’s a scary thought since a) he should have been traded a year ago, and b) with Phil Kessel being run out of town, his value likely has nowhere to go but down. That latter point applies even if Kessel stays, since Bozak is now going on 30-years-old.
Thankfully it appears not all is lost, and though the Leafs’ reported ask of a second-round pick may have been too steep, there’s still a chance he can be moved in the next few days.
“I know there’s a market for Tyler Bozak. I know there is. I mean, he’s not a first line center per se – although he was a first line center in Toronto – but he’s got an affordable cap hit. And, you know, maybe what we need to do is start hammering out what’s the expected rate of return. Maybe there’s an unreasonable expectation on some of these guys.”
The price on Bozak appears to simply be too high, or at least it was over the weekend. If Shanahan and co. feel they need to move him (and they should), they may have to lower their expected return substantially. But it’s all good, since moving him out for the cap space and roster opening alone would be a win.
What the Leafs can’t let happen is the market to dry up completely, where they get saddled with the rest of Bozak’s contract and push themselves into a cap struggle or buyout situation in the next couple years. There are only three years left on the deal, but Toronto could still use that money to try some different things in the short term and perhaps accumulate additional picks on deadline deals. Bozak’s contract, as it is, hinders that.