Our beloved Toronto Maple Leafs agreed to a five-year deal with defenceman Bryan McCabe yesterday. The deal is worth between $5.5 million US and $6 million per year. The Star did some Leaf math for the 2006/2007 season, and the numbers don't equal a Stanley Cup parade on Yonge Street next June.
The Leafs have $26.1 million (all figures U.S.) tied up in 13 players for the 2006-07 season. Part of that is a $1.5 million buyout expected to be exercised on G Ed Belfour.
They have $16.05 million tied up on three players - Mats Sundin, Bryan McCabe and Tomas Kaberle.
The expected payroll ceiling for next season is between $43 million and $45 million. Based on those figures, the Leafs could have as little as $17 million and as much as $19 million to spend on the remaining 10 players on their 23-man roster.
$17 million for 10 players means no blue chippers like Patrik Elias, Zdeno Chara or Wade Redden. I suppose you could throw $6 million at Elias, but that would mean your next nine guys will have to come in at a million or less. That means we'll have an awfully young blue line again that won't be much better than it was last year and that means another year of watching other teams compete for Lord Stanley's mug.
Upgrading the defense is essential. Jay McKee would be a nice complement to McCabe and Kaberle, but we'll need more depth than that. I have a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach that next year will be worse than this one, and that's a frightening thought.
Go Leafs Go!
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