Latest on the Toronto Maple Leafs, plus an update on Derek Roy.
More moves in store for the Maple Leafs?
NBC SPORTS: Jason Brough reports trade speculation continues to dog Toronto Maple Leafs’ core players Dion Phaneuf, Tyler Bozak and Joffrey Lupul, among many others. Brough points out, however, this isn’t a perfect time for the Leafs to engage in salary-dumping deals, noting they had to pick up part of Phil Kessel’s salary when they dealt him last month to Pittsburgh, plus they’re still carrying a small chunk of defenseman Carl Gunnarsson’s salary.
Brough also notes younger players like Nazem Kadri, Jake Gardiner and Jonathan Bernier still have to prove themselves. He expects the Leafs will remain active on the trade front as they continue their rebuilding process.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: At this point, I expect all of the players noted by Brough to return with the Leafs next season, but their respective performances will determine if they remain part of the club’s long-term plans. While I daresay most Leafs fans would prefer expensive veterans like Phaneuf, Bozak and Lupul hitting the trade block, their contracts won’t be easy to move.
Younger players like Kadri and Gardiner would likely attract more interest and thus prove easier to trade, though they might not fetch as rich as return as some fans think. Regardless, we can expect some of these players to resurface in the rumor mill throughout next season.
Derek Roy still seeking a contract.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jim Matheson reports former Oilers center Derek Roy is still seeking an NHL contract. Roy’s agent, Rob Hooper, noted his client’s age (32) and size (5’9″, 184 pounds) could be stumbling blocks. Roy tallied 22 points in 46 games playing alongside Nail Yakupov last season, but became expendable when the Oilers won the first-overall selection in the 2015 NHL Draft and picked can’t-miss center Connor McDavid. Hooper claims Roy isn’t at the stage yet where he’d accept an NHL training-camp tryout. Other options include playing in Europe, though Roy’s preference is to remain in the NHL.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Roy’s in the same boat as fellow UFA forwards Jiri Tlusty and Brad Boyes. The marginal increase in the salary cap for next season means there’s less available money for teams to spend on free agents this summer. Roy could face accepting a training-camp tryout or playing in Europe next season.