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.