The Toronto Maple Leafs were busy as free agency opened on Thursday, signing seven new players. The team started by addressing a need in net and continued with more depth moves throughout the day.
With a little more than $10 million in cap space to start the day, the Toronto Maple Leafs was not expected to get in on the biggest names. The Maple Leafs free agency plan became clearer the closer it got to Noon on Thursday. General Manager Kyle Dubas has repeatedly maintained the team is sticking with the core.
Depth was the primary focus heading into the first day of the silly season. Toronto made a series of short-term deals to address the bottom half of their roster and the goaltending need. Let’s take a look at the Leafs free agency class from Thursday. Salary information courtesy of Cap Friendly.
Leafs free agency: Team adds to the crease with solid veteran
The biggest move of the day for Toronto was finding a partner in the net for Jack Campbell. The team inked Petr Mrázek to a three-year contract with an average annual value of $3.8 million. There were a plethora of goalies on the market but they were moving quickly. Dubas snapped up his target early in the day, creating a tandem with Campbell.
The former fifth-round selection of the Detroit Red Wings has a career .911 save percentage and 2.59 goals-against average. The Czech spent the last three seasons with the Carolina Hurricanes. Limited to just 12 starts due to injury last season, Mrázek posted a .923 SV% and 2.06 GAA.
Leafs free agency: Forward depth solidified in series of moves
Toronto added four forwards to the mix on Thursday to likely compete for bottom-six roles. The lone exception, perhaps by default after losing Zach Hyman to Edmonton, is Michael Bunting. Toronto snagged the left-winger from Arizona on a two-year pact with an AAV of $950K.
The 2014 fourth-rounder scored 10 goals in 21 games last year, flashing potential as a top-six contributor. Out of necessity, Bunting will have a chance to play with Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner on the top line.
The Leafs also signed centre David Kampf to fill a depth role, likely on the third line. The 26-year-old is known as a defensive forward. Toronto will be paying him $1.5 million per year for the next two seasons. By acquiring Kampf, Alex Kerfoot may slide into a top-six role.
The Maple Leafs free agency haul continued with the signings of Kurtis Gabriel and Michael Amadio to one-year deals for $750K apiece. Amadio has some offensive upside with 16 career goals but both players will be battling for a spot on the ice and not the press box.
Leafs free agency: Defence gets two more players to compete
Dubas completed his day with two more $750K one-year contracts. Toronto added Alex Biega and Carl Dahlstrom to the blueline Thursday. Neither is going to send Leafs Nation into the streets celebrating, but both will compete for a spot with the big league club.
The expectation is that the two will be in competition with Timothy Liljegren for the seventh spot on defence. Biega is a veteran presence with 241 career games played. Meanwhile, Dahlstrom is a former second-round pick of the Chicago Blackhawks who is just 26 years old.
One other piece of business Dubas completed was signing Joshua Ho-Sang to a professional tryout. Ho-Sang is a former first-round pick of the New York Islanders, scoring seven goals in 53 career games. The 25-year-old is very talented but had issues in Long Island and last played in Sweden.
The Maple Leafs were busy on the first day of free agency but it is hard to say they are any better on paper after losing Hyman to the Oilers. This is the reality when you pour most of your cap resources into four forwards. Dubas is adamant that it will work in the long run and is staking his job on that. If things go poorly, the team always has trade options on their roster.
What did you think of the Maple Leafs free agency plan? Are there any other moves you would like to see the team make? Let us know in the comments below.