Toronto Maple Leafs bring back bruising defenceman Roman Polak


After hanging around with the Toronto Maple Leafs through training camp, the team made it official signing the veteran to a one-year deal.

The road to recovery appear to be complete for Roman Polak as the Toronto Maple Leafs announced that the veteran has been signed to a one-year deal worth $1.1-million.

The 31-year-old has been recovering from a leg injury that he suffered during the Leafs first round playoff series against the Washington Capitals last season. He has been with the Leafs since training camp on a pro-tryout contract but many were expecting him to get signed at some point by the team. It appears as if he has shown enough to give the Leafs no doubt in his physical health.

There is no telling the type of role he will play with the Leafs but Polak will likely draw into the lineup at some point this season on the third pairing. While he may not be the most mobile player, the Leafs like the physicality Polak brings to the lineup.

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This also gives Mike Babcock another option for the penalty kill as he has been riding Nikita Zaitsev and Ron Hainsey for the most part. Having Polak take some of those minutes should relieve some of the wear and tear that the Leafs have put on their penalty killers early on in the season.

The Leafs will likely have Polak go on a conditioning stint with the Toronto Marlies before he gets any time in the NHL. Considering he has not played in a meaningful game since April, it would be tough to see him get thrown into the lineup consecutive games under his belt first. Another area Polak will need to adjust to is the stricter penalty calls that have been a tough adjustment for many players so far this season.

Once Polak is ready, expect the Leafs to make a decision with Andreas Borgman and Calle Rosen as neither need to clear waivers to be sent down to the AHL. That will be a tough decision but the Leafs may lean to having Borgaman stay up.

The other side to this is that there are many detractors to bringing Polak back especially because he does not drive possession. However, given the Leafs struggles in their own end, they could afford to have a player like Polak come into the lineup. If it does not work out then the Leafs can keep him around the locker room.

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It is easy to get carried away with the Leafs signing a player that will be their sixth and seventh defenceman and if this move sends a message to the rest of the defence then it is worth doing.