As free agency looms in the not-so-distant future, the Leafs have a handful of players to focus on – including several AHLers who spent this past season with the Toronto Marlies.
On the NHL roster, most of their team is already locked up; however, some big names remain open. Twenty-five year old right winger Nikolai Kulemin is arguably the biggest of those names. He made $2,250,000 last year and may be set up for a raise. In 70 games this year with Toronto, Kulemin had 28 points. He also competed with Russia in the World Championships.
Matt Frattin, another right winger who spent time in the NHL and AHL this past season, is also set to hit the free agent market. He spent 56 games with the Leafs and 23 with the Marlies before suffering a season-ending injury during the playoffs. Frattin’s NHL salary last season was $875,000 while his AHL salary was $65,000.
Starting to sound like a pattern yet? Another right-winger, Joey Crabb, will also become a free agent on July 1 unless Brian Burke does something about it. Crabb played nine games with the Marlies but spent the majority of the season with the NHL club. He ended the season with 26 points in 67 games with the Leafs, and went on to represent the USA in eight games during the Worlds. Crabb’s NHL salary was $750,000; AHL was $105k.
On the other side of the ice is left winger Jay Rosehill. The 26-year-old played 31 games with the Maple Leafs and four games with the Marlies, but didn’t register any points. His NHL and AHL salaries were both $600,000 according to CapGeek.com.
Defenseman Cody Franson, who made $800,000 last season, will also become a free agent. He spent all of last season with the Maple Leafs, tallying five goals and 16 assists in 57 games with Toronto.
Lastly, goaltender Jonas Gustavsson may test the waters of free agency on July 1. Gustavsson had a 2.92 GAA in 42 games with the Leafs last season, making $1.4 million in the process. With Reimer, Rynnas and Scrivens – will he fit into the Leafs’ game plan for next season? We’ll see what Brian Burke does.
Aside from those NHLers, there is a slew of AHL players that also need to be re-signed by the Leafs organization.
Defensemen Jeff Finger and Matt Lashoff, along with forwards Mike Zigomanis, Philippe Dupuis and Ryan Hamilton are all set to become unrestricted free agents. The list of pending RFAs, however, is longer: Jussi Rynnas, Ben Scrivens, Marcel Mueller, Simon Gysbers, Korbinian Holzer, Juraj Mikus, Richard Greenop and Mark Fraser.
Free agency isn’t too far away, but anything can happen during this week’s draft. Players can be traded, rights can be traded, picks acquired or lost, AHLers could elect to sign overseas with the KHL or other international leagues (as seems to be a pattern). We’ll see what happens!