By Jonny Adornetto @jonnyrants on April 14, 2014
With the Toronto Maple Leafs missing the playoffs for the eighth time in the last nine seasons, changes once again need to be made. With Brendan Shanahan now in the driver's seat as the team's new president, it's only a matter of time for some fresh faces to make their way to Toronto via free agency. Here's a look at the top five free agents that Shanahan and the Leafs should target during the upcoming offseason.
Now that James Reimer has clearly proved that he is an AHL-caliber goalie at best, the Leafs need to pursue a reliable backup. Since Tim Thomas' days as a member of the Dallas Stars are seemingly over, the Leafs could ink the 40-year old to a short-term contract that won't break the bank. Although Thomas is getting up there in age, his durability is second to none, which is something the Leafs need in the backup position.
Jaromir Jagr has once again proven that he still has the skill set that makes him a top-notch player in the NHL. The 42-year old managed to rack up 67 points in 2014 and doesn't appear to want to hang up his skates just yet. The Leafs are in desperate need for someone to come in and lead by example. Jagr has made a living out of taking matters into his own hands in desperate times. He would be a fantastic addition to their second line.
If Patrick Marleau and the San Jose Sharks don't win the Stanley Cup in 2014, expect the crafty forward to move along. Marleau is exactly what the Leafs need to solidify their two top lines. Marleau commands respect and would be a nice addition in a locker room that is primarily made up of inexperienced young talent. Marleau has seen it all and what he has experienced on the professional level is something that would help the whole organization.
It would be an understatement to say that the Leafs need to do something about their underachieving defense. Brooks Orpik has played every single game in his professional career as a member of the Pittsburgh Penguins, an organization that has been successful for a number of years now. Along with knowing how to win, Orpik would serve as a solid complement to USA Olympic Hockey Team members Phil Kessel and James van Riemsdyk.
Paul Stastny is the premier center that the Leafs need to put in between Kessel and van Riemsdyk on the top line. The young star is a solid two-way player who knows how to put the puck in the back of the net and make those around him better players as well. If the Leafs want to throw some money around this offseason, this is the player that should be on the top of their wish list. Stastny would make the Leafs a better team immediately.
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