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Report: Contract talks between Leafs and Bozak not going well

Jun 17, 2013, 3:20 PM EDT

TylerBozak

Contract negotiations between the Maple Leafs and pending unrestricted free agent Tyler Bozak are not going particularly well, according to CBC’s Elliotte Friedman.

Bozak, 27, had 28 points in 46 games in 2013 and has had offensive success while centering wingers Phil Kessel and Joffrey Lupul.

There’s great debate, however, whether Bozak is a legitimate first-line center, the kind that can lead a team to the Stanley Cup.

The Leafs already have center Mikhail Grabovski under contract through 2016-17, and Nazem Kadri‘s emergence gives them another top-six option down the middle.

Then there are all the rumors about Panthers center (and Toronto native) Stephen Weiss, who’s free to sign anywhere he desires on July 5.

Just for fun, another name we’ll throw out there is Joe Thornton. The 33-year-old only has one year left on his deal with the Sharks, and San Jose has two young centers in Logan Couture and Joe Pavelski that the organization may think offer better value in the long-term.

Of course, the Sharks still need to lock up Couture, 24, and Pavelski, 28. The former has one year left before he’s RFA; the latter one year before he’s UFA.

CSN Bay Area has more on re-signing Couture and Pavelski.

Related: Sharks expect Hertl to compete for roster spot next season

  1. ray2013 - Jun 17, 2013 at 3:53 PM

    If you haven’t signed a contract this close to free agency, then shouldn’t we assume that the player intends to test free agency? For a lot of guys, this is their one big chance to cash in as a pro. Why would you pass that up?

    • freneticgarfieldfan - Jun 17, 2013 at 4:22 PM

      Why? An offer above estimated market value from the current organization, for example.

      • ray2013 - Jun 17, 2013 at 4:54 PM

        I don’t have any insder’s perspective. He could sign this afternoon for all I know. But having watched pro sports for a while, it seems like a fairly common occurance to me: the team thinks the market value for a player is x, and the agent’s opinion is that the player’s value is x + y. If y is a large value, then he’ll probably test free agency. But it may be that the value of y is not the sole factor. He may have family considerations (like we heard with Suter). It may be privacy considerations. I can’t imagine being a #1 centre for the Leafs is very private. Maybe he’s just tired of sharing a place with Phil Kessel. (See the privacy issue? We even know he lives with Phil Kessel.)

        The only thing we do know is that it’s getting close to the deadline, and he hasn’t signed. If it was a top priority for both the Leafs and Bozak, you’d think they would have wrapped this up some time ago. But what do I know? He could sign this afternoon.

      • ray2013 - Jun 17, 2013 at 5:03 PM

        And like Jernster notes below, if he doesn’t feel like he’s wanted by the Leafs, that may be sufficient for Bozak to leave.

    • withseidelinn - Jun 18, 2013 at 9:57 AM

      Most teams want Bozak as a 3rd line center. I think he believes and wants to be the #1 guy. Not completely convinced he will ever be that, but hopefully they can find some middle ground. Either way, one of Kadri, Bozak or Grabovski will not be around a lot longer.

  2. jernster21 - Jun 17, 2013 at 4:20 PM

    Every time Bozak was the subject of conversation, Leafs management was always very nonchalant about him. “If we can come to an agreement that works for us, great, if not, oh well” type of mentality and players notice that – they want to play for teams that want them. I think Bozak is a pretty good player, he’ll end up somewhere else and the Leafs won’t get anything return – poor management.

  3. jacketsfan7 - Jun 17, 2013 at 5:04 PM

    Come to Cbj please god

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