“The Panthers are looking a trade possibilities and hoping to get a first round pick, another top selection and a top, NHL -ready prospect if they move Bouwmeester. The Leafs don’t have the wherewithal to put that kind of package today, although its believed GM Brian Burke might be willing to part with the team’s first rounder this summer if he could first negotiate a long-term deal with Bouwmeester.” Damien Cox
Now you are starting to enter the realm of hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm… Bouwmeester will be 26 in September. He is due to become an unrestricted free agent this summer. This is an old fashioned game of poker. Let’s assume for one second that he isn’t going to resign in Florida. He has NEVER played a playoff game since being drafted. Also, if he is going to resign, this debate is over. If he isn’t going to resign, why would he agree to re-up with anyone until the free agency period begins. Jay Bo is a westerner, so I guess if Calgary came a knocking he may re-up early. Other then that why bother? So the question becomes do you take the chance. The answer is NO. If you can’t resign him you don’t make the deal. That’s easy. Then the question is, do you assume whomever he gets traded to he will re-up with? If the answer is yes, then if you want him……you have to trade for him. Not an easy decision. It’s easy to SAY we won’t trade for him without talking to him about re-upping. What do you do in that game of poker???
“Barring that, if Bouwmeester gets to unrestricted free agent status, you can expect the Leafs to be at the front of the line of teams vying for his services. Interestingly, the Leafs would be well-positioned given that they currently operate almost $10 million below the salary cap. There’s a threat the $56.7 million cap could drop significantly after next season, leaving teams with fewer salary committments – like the Leafs – potentially in a position to have far more flexibility over the next two years. Even if Bouwmeester is traded before the March 4 deadline, he might still become unrestricted July 1st, as was the case with Marian Hossa.”
This could be the hardest decision to face Burke. Bouwmeester is the type of player you build around. Him and Schenn would make for a pretty solid base for a defence core. If the Leafs are 2-3 years from the playoffs you have to wonder why he would agree to come here (granted they would say with him maybe it’s not that long)…..
So Leaf fans, you are Burke…If you can’t talk to him or guarantee you can resign him, do you roll the dice that he becomes an UFA or the other way and pull the trigger. If you deal for him (a number one plus anything) and he doesn’t resign you are toast!….What do you think?