With the NHL Draft and free agent season quickly approaching, the Toronto Maple Leafs plan on making some moves to improve the team sooner rather than later.
Appearing on the Bryan Hayes Show on TSN Radio on Monday, Leafs general manager Brian Burke made it clear that everything from current players to draft picks to cap space will be on the table if he can add to the roster for next season.
"We intend to use these assets and whatever assets are available on July 1 to improve our hockey club," said Burke. "We do not intend to be an idle bystander on either day."
However, if nothing can be worked out on the trade front, Burke is confident he can stockpile for the future in a draft where the Leafs currently possess the 25th and 30th overall picks. While many are talking about the likes Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Adam Larsson and Gabriel Landeskog, Burke feels the talent pool is deep this year.
"Once you get through that group, there's a good pile of players that goes well past 50," said Burke. "So if we keep those picks, we think we'll get good prospects. It's a deep draft that lacks star power but there's plenty of talent there."
As for the free agency, defenceman Luke Schenn along with forwards Tyler Bozak and Clarke MacArthur are slated to become restricted free agents on July 1st, but Burke is not worried about losing any key players.
"Clarke MacArthur has arbitration rights and he may well file for arbitration. We're fine if that's what he chooses," added Burke. "We have a lot of financial clout behind this team and we have a lot of cap space. We're not worried about someone trying to take a player out of here through an offer sheet and we anticipate we'll be able to re-sign all the players we want to re-sign."
When it comes to trying to sign another team's restricted free agents via offer sheets, Burke was unequivocal in his response.
"I'm not contemplating that at this point, no," said Burke.
While Burke feels the team needs help at forward and defence, he is satisfied with the current status in the crease. With James Reimer emerging last season and Jonas Gustavsson finding his way at the NHL level, Leafs fans should expect no changes there.
"We believe in Jonas Gustavsson. We believe what's prohibited him from attaining his potential to this point in his career has been physical issues, not goaltending issues," said Burke. "We're not ruling out doing something later in the summer but right now, our plan is to start with those two."