|The Leafs Blinded Me With Science!|
The Leafs entered the season with three principles to how the would be managed financially.
1. They added a Claude Loiselle to manage the salary cap closely. I'd assume to allow the team to be as close to the cap as possible without damaging the future of the franchise with bonus penalties and long term contracts.
2. The promise that any players that weren't performing up to snuff would be sent to the minors, no matter how much they make. They have finally delivered on this promise with Jeff Finger being sent down to the Marlies (a year late, but better late than ever.)
3. This is a cap team, if Burke has money to spend, he'll spend it. This has always sort of held true. Maybe the money hasn't been spent wisely (/looks in Colby Armstrong's direction), but if the cap is 59 million dollars, you better believe Burke has been spending it.
Why is all of this interesting? (I assume if you've made it this far you find it a little interesting.) Thanks to Burke finally ridding the Leafs of Finger, the team has a whooping $4.8 Million Dollars to spend, but is now the right time to start trying to spend it?
The short answer is yes. Although the Leafs have the same number of points after 2 games that it took them 10 games to reach last season, the Leafs remain far from a lock as a playoff team. It could also be argued that adding someone new sooner rather than later will give the new Leaf a chance to build some chemistry with the team.
The Leafs roster does not need a radical makeover, instead one additional enhancement make sense. As the lineup currently sits if someone begins to slump, or is injured, the next person into the lineup for forwards in John Mitchell. If history has taught us anything, it's that John Mitchell is not a viable option. What is a viable option is upgrading on forward and Tim Brent, Michael Zigomanis, Mike Brown, and Colton Orr rotate in and out of the lineup based on performance and need.
There is an argument that can be made that giving up a defenseman still makes sense given that Lebda is capable of being an every night player, and Richmond and Lashoff have shown themselves capable of stepping into the 7th defenseman role.
Currently the Leafs have faced Carey Price and Pascal Leclaire. Not the greatest of goaltenders, and as the competition gets tougher the need for a top six forward may become greater.
The fact that a move isn't necessary makes this the perfect time to start looking for a new Leaf. If moves are made out of desperation you wind up trading for Lee Stempniak. The Leafs aren't broke, but that doesn't mean they don't need to be fixed. Hopefully the army of Assistant-GMs are on the case, and Toronto fans will finally have an a consistent answer to who scores besides Kessel (and Grabovski, because you damn well know he's awesome too.)
Follow me on Twitter as I continue my quest for a really good Reuben in Fort McMurray.