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05-25-2013, 10:49 PM
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TheFourthPeriod.com: Tyler Bozak, Leafs far from deal
May 25, 2013 | 9:50am ET
The Toronto Maple Leafs do not appear to be close to signing impending unrestricted free agent center Tyler Bozak to a new long-term contract.
Bozak, 27, is scheduled to become a UFA July 5, and is believed to be seeking an annual salary worth in the neighborhood of $5 million to $5.5 million.
According to multiple sources, the Leafs, who would like to have Bozak back next season, are not interested in signing him to such a price tag.
Bozak, who picked up 12 goals and 16 assists for 28 points in 46 games with the Leafs this season, has expressed his desire to re-sign with Toronto. He's been slotted in as the club's No. 1 center, playing with Phil Kessel and either Joffrey Lupul or James van Riemsdyk.
However, most NHL teams do not view Bozak as a top line center, one club executive recently told TFP, and anything north of $3 million per year might be a stretch.
"If there is a contract that makes sense for us and makes sense for Tyler, we'll sign him," Leafs GM Dave Nonis told the local media last week. "But it's not a situation where we have to sign Tyler Bozak because there are numbers that make sense for the team and there are numbers that make sense for Bozie."
With a limited number of top-tier free agents available this summer, Bozak could find a better deal elsewhere. He joins Mike Ribeiro, Derek Roy and Stephen Weiss are the top centermen poised to become free agents this summer.
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