The Toronto Maple Leafs made the signing of Nic Petan to a two-year deal official giving Kyle Dubas more options to work with as he prepares for the future.
Auston Matthews extension will kick in next season at $11.634 million per season and Mitch Marner‘s deal won’t be cheap either. Then there’s Kasperi Kapanen and Andreas Johnsson who will want to cash in on their strong seasons.
This is why Dubas is getting ahead of the game by signing players that can step in next season and fill in the holes the team will have. Even if they don’t play every day, these are players who can be plugged in and out of the lineup.
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At $775,000 per season, Petan joins Trevor Moore, who signed an identical deal, Calle Rosen (two years, $750,000 AAV), Andreas Borgman (one year, $700,000 AAV) and Garret Sparks (one year, $700,000 AAV) as players Dubas has targeted to fill those roles.
Looking at those contracts, it is hard to find an issue with them considering what these players are earning and, as Chris Johnston of Sportsnet notes, if they can’t stick in the NHL then they can be moved or sent down to the AHL with no cap penalty.
Another thing we have seen is how tough it has been for these players to get a regular opportunity especially Moore and Petan who have been rotating in and out of the lineup. Unless Tyler Ennis is looking for another payday, the Leafs fourth line is going to feature both wingers more often.
That might not excite fans who have been looking for the Leafs to employ bigger “heavier” forwards but there aren’t many of those players who fit the team’s style of play. This doesn’t mean Dubas isn’t ignoring size as a component in a player but it’s something that gets mentioned more because of how people talk about the team’s lack of physical play.
At this point, you have to commend Dubas for making the most of the opportunity he has to get these players signed now so that he can handle to tougher negotiations in the off-season.
What do you think about Petan’s deal? Do you see Dubas trying to get more deals done between now and the off-season? Let us know in the comments below.