The Toronto Maple Leafs didn’t overpay Brad Richards yesterday but general manager Brian Burke made two moves in the past twenty-four hours that I really like:
- Tim Connolly ($9 million, 2 years) – Connolly is a short term solution for the Leafs and will be their #1 center until either Nazem Kadri or Joe Colborne develops into one. He will be partnered with Phil Kessel and most likely Joffrey Lupul on the left side this upcoming season. I like this deal because Connolly can be counted on to feed Kessel the puck, unlike Tyler Bozak, who on a good team would be no better than a third-line center.
- Cody Franson & Matthew Lombardi (via trade) – Nashville needed to make a salary dump, most likely in order to re-sign Shea Weber, and Burkie acquired the young Top 4 defenseman along with Lombardi’s salary in exchange for the vilified Brett Lebda and minor leaguer Robert Slaney. If Lombardi is healthy, he will be a great second or third-line center for the Leafs. Franson will join a crowded blue line, which makes me wonder if either Keith Aulie or Carl Gunnarsson will become trade bait– or will Mike Komisarek be on the move? Either way, we only gave up a minor leaguer and a seventh defenseman for these two and it’s a low risk deal for the Leafs.