The ongoing rumour of the Canucks being a landing spot for Ekman-Larsson means that the team has to look at ways to save money on their blue line and Troy Stecher was a casualty after not being tendered a qualifying offer.
Stecher’s name has been in the rumour mill for a while and has been an underrated contributor with the Canucks especially during their playoff run this past season. He can easily provide quality minutes on a team’s third pairing and could sign for a bargain.
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The 26-year-old is willing to do the tough work in his own end as he had 60.7 per cent of his zone starts in the defensive end. He also doesn’t mind blocking shots and the Leafs would have some inside information on him from new assistant coach Manny Malhotra.
This might be a bit of a stretch to expect a reunion between the Leafs and Schenn but he would be another bargain depth player that provides some toughness to the blue line. The former fifth overall pick from the 2008 NHL Draft captured the Stanley Cup with the Tampa Bay Lightning rotating on the third pairing so there’s no reason why he wouldn’t be able to play a similar role.
He certainly won’t be looking to strike rich on a deal and probably won’t sign at the beginning of free agency but worth keeping an eye on.
Similar to Stecher, Benning wasn’t given a qualifying offer by the Edmonton Oilers at $1.95 million and will likely have to sign a deal less than that. He is a player that can easily play on the third pairing.
On a one-year deal, Benning can try to improve his value especially with a flat salary cap that is going to make it tough for him to find a good offer out there.
Who should the Leafs consider signing in free agency? Should they be aggressive when the market opens? Let us know in the comments below.