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May 25, 2013 | 9:50am ET
Bozak, Leafs far from deal
TheFourthPeriod.com

The Toronto Maple Leafs do not appear to be close to signing impending unrestricted free agent center Tyler Bozak to a new long-term contract.

Bozak, 27, is scheduled to become a UFA July 5, and is believed to be seeking an annual salary worth in the neighborhood of $5 million to $5.5 million.

According to multiple sources, the Leafs, who would like to have Bozak back next season, are not interested in signing him to such a price tag.

Bozak, who picked up 12 goals and 16 assists for 28 points in 46 games with the Leafs this season, has expressed his desire to re-sign with Toronto. He's been slotted in as the club's No. 1 center, playing with Phil Kessel and either Joffrey Lupul or James van Riemsdyk.

However, most NHL teams do not view Bozak as a top line center, one club executive recently told TFP, and anything north of $3 million per year might be a stretch.

"If there is a contract that makes sense for us and makes sense for Tyler, we'll sign him," Leafs GM Dave Nonis told the local media last week. "But it's not a situation where we have to sign Tyler Bozak because there are numbers that make sense for the team and there are numbers that make sense for Bozie."

With a limited number of top-tier free agents available this summer, Bozak could find a better deal elsewhere. He joins Mike Ribeiro, Derek Roy and Stephen Weiss are the top centermen poised to become free agents this summer.


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