‘I hope I can be part of’ Leafs rebuild, says Bozak

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Tyler Bozak has witnessed Toronto’s new managerial regime clear out some of the previous regime’s bigger contracts, like Dion Phaneuf and Phil Kessel.

Which, in turn, has made Bozak well aware he could be the next one out the door.

“I think there is going to be changes this summer like there always is,” Bozak said, per the Toronto Sun. “We are not finishing in a great spot in the standings, so we have not done our job. I am sure things will be changed in the room, but who knows?”

The Bozak contract has long been a point of controversy in Toronto. A five-year, $21 million pact signed back in 2013, he’ll carry a $4.2 million cap hit through 2018 — at which time he’ll be 32 years old. Signed largely because of his chemistry with Kessel, Bozak was essentially miscast as a top-line center at the time of his signing, and now might not fit in the club’s future plans.

Given how swiftly GM Lou Lamoriello has worked on rebuilding the Leafs’ roster, it’s logical that Bozak could be shopped this summer. And it wouldn’t be that hard a sell — Bozak is a good offensive producer (31 points in 47 games this year, despite missing significant time with a concussion) and that $4.2M hit isn’t a killer, especially for teams with cap space looking for depth down the middle.

Of course, Bozak’s made it clear he wants to stay.

“I think the guys have been doing really good and have been earning their keep up here and staff and management have been really pleased with them,” he said. “That’s bright for the future. I hope I can be part of it.”

Bozak will be back in the lineup for the first time in 21 games tonight, when the Leafs take on the Ducks at the ACC.