8

Babcock says that the Leafs will be adding European free agents to their existing group

According to Kristen Shilton, via Darren Dreger’s Dreger’s Café on TSN:

It could easily be interpreted that the Leafs are going to add players who will compete for NHL jobs come next training camp. The jobs up in the air are many, but there is no harm in creating additional internal competition. Some likely targets for the Leafs may be depth centers who will be cheaper than Brian Boyle, and depth defensemen who will be cheaper than Roman Polak. They also could be looking for replacements for veteran players they’re intending to ship out, like James Van Riemsdyk, Leo Komarov or Tyler Bozak.

Leafs Nation will certainly be on the edge of their respective seats until we hear some names, so definitely keep an eye out for that.

  • Gary Empey

    Last year Babcock and Lamoriello both took in the worlds. I suppose to see Auston and Laine actually play. This year I haven’t heard if Lamoriello is also over there. Does anyone know?

  • The Russian Rocket

    You have to expect they’re going to sign some d-men to compete with the depth guys they have already. If they could get a clear #4 guy and put more pressure on the #5,6 D-men to compete for roster spots, that would be an off-season success in my opinion.

    • Gary Empey

      At the moment, Leafs have no one signed for next year to play the bottom pairing on defence. They know what they have in Polak and Hunwick who filled those spots last season. I would imagine those two spots are where the Leafs are looking to see if they can improve. Babcock also had trouble keeping a forth line center in the lineup and that spot is also more or less unsigned. I suppose the right wing on the 4th line is also up in the air. Fehr is signed but we hardly seen his play before he was injured. Harte thinks Kapanen should maybe have one more year in the AHL and then play in the top nine. I am assuming from what I have read between the lines, that Leaf’s management would like to sign younger guys who can skate and fit in with the rest of the crowd. Typically scouts over there are looking for top players. Solid bottom pairings and 4th liners get overlooked. It sounds like Babcock has already seen some guys that fit the mold.

      • The Russian Rocket

        Good point regarding the bottom pair. I’d have to think that D pair are our biggest need, then 4C. I don’t think 4RW is open though. At this point it would be foolish to keep Kapanen in the AHL. With his NHL speed and the performance he put up at the end of the season, we’re not going to find a better 4RW so management would be shooting themselves in the foot by keeping him in the AHL. At this point he can develop his game in the NHL and take 3RW two years from now. Babs will give him some PP time and push him up the lineup when he wants to send a message to other wingers. Or, when he wants to put Nylander on the 4RW and throw the other team for a loop, making them struggle even harder to match-up. What would be more beneficial, having Kapenan dominate the AHL or giving him some shifts on Bozak, Kadri or Matthews wing from time-to-time during the season?