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Maple Leafs' Cupboards Are Bare

Looking at his forward lines, Toronto Maple Leafs' general manager Brian Burke must feel like the guy who habitually checks the junk drawer for something that might be useful.

Let's be honest here, there's not much left. Beyond Phil Kessel, I have trouble remembering the names of any of the Leafs' forwards. Looking forward, I don't see the remedy.

We have a whack of money tied up in the defence, even the sporadic Jeff Finger is a multi-millionaire, a six-million-dollar goaltender in J.S. Giguere and two forwards of mention in Phil Kessel and Mikael Grabovski. Where is the money going to come from to re-stock the forward lines?

I listened, as the faithful follower that I am, to Brian Burke's comments about keeping Tomas Kaberle in the fold. I bought his line about possibly re-signing the team's highest point getter. Now, upon further reflection, I wonder how he'll be able to do that.

The Leafs defence corps, although a potentially very promising group, is highly overpaid. Someone is going to have to go, in order for the Brian Burke to re-stock that junk drawer with useful forwards.

Is someone going to take Jeff Finger's $3.5 million per year contract off our hands? Nobody else was willing to pay him that kind of scratch. Why would they want him now, after watching him spend half the season on the bench? Garnet Exelby? Well, his $1.725 million will be off the books, at least.

The rest, Dion Phaneuf, Mike Komisarek, Francois Beauchemin and Luke Schenn are presumably who Burke wants to make up the core of his defence.

That leaves Kaberle. He's the only defenceman that might fetch us a spot at the first round table at the draft and who's salary might allow us to sign a decent free agent.

Burke has surprised me before, I'm just a fan, after all. But, I believe Tomas will be packing his bags this summer.

- bobbyshow


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