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07-14-2005, 10:13 PM
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I think all of this talk about the Leafs' cap problems is overblown. They may have been in trouble if buyouts were not allowed, but since they are (and they have the financial resources to buy players out) they should have no problems.

Mats Sundin $6.84 million
Owen Nolan $5,627,047
Ed Belfour $4.56 million
Bryan McCabe $3.458 million
Tomas Kaberle $2.28 million
Ken Klee $1.9 million
Darcy Tucker $1.596 million
Matt Stajan $805,600

Total $27,066,647

Owen Nolan will be bought out (no doubt in my mind), that's a lot of cash for someone who may not give you a full season. So
$27,066,647 - $5,627,047 = $21,439,600 for 7 players.

Assuming a full roster needs 21-23 players then the leafs have ($39,000,000 - $21,439,600=) $17,560,400 to sign 14-16 players.

Restricted Free Agents:
Nik Antropov, Wade Belak, Alexei Ponikarovsky, Aki Berg, Chad Kilger, Karel Pilar, Nathan Perrott.

I doubt any of these guys even sniff $1,000,000/year except possibly Antropov. The Leafs can probably add this group (or equivalent players) for $4,500,000.

Now they're looking at 7 to 9 players with $13,060,400 to spend.
If they try to bring in some younger players (i.e.: Wellwood, Steen, Colaiacovo, Tellqvist) and sign a few fourth line / AHL type guys (i.e.: Wilm, Ling, Aubin), then they can probably have 8 to 9 million to spend on 2 to 4 guys. (i.e. Roberts, Nieuwendyk, Lindros?, Allison?).

Will the Leafs be able to load up at the trade deadline anymore? Probably not, but this could be a good thing because they've never found the guy that could put them over the top.

Will the team be as good? Who knows??? It's impossible to say without getting an idea of which free agents are signing where. (Although from what i've read Niedermayer, Aucoin, Foote and others may just end up playing for 5 or 10 teams each. I guess that's their way around the cap ).

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