Now that the first day of Free Agent frenzy is over, we can all take a closer look at what our teams did or didn’t do. For the Toronto Maple Leafs, General Manager Kyle Dubas was able to do the unthinkable and that was get out from under the salary cap mess that looked like it would hinder him.
First Things First:
The first two moves that GM Kyle Dubas made were depth signings. First, he signed forward Nick Shore to a one year deal for $750,000 and then followed that up by signing Kenny Agostino to a two year deal worth $1.4 Million with an (AAV) Average Annual Value of $700,000.
Nick Shore: An American from Denver, Colorado and was a 3rd round draft pick of the Los Angeles Kings in 2011. Shore played for Metallurg Magnitogorsk of the KHL last season recording 3 goals and 13 assists for 16 points in 37 games played. He is expected to compete with Frederik Gauthier for the 4th line center spot.
Kenny Agostino: An American from Flanders, New Jersey and was a 5th round pick of the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2010. Agostino spent time between the Montreal Canadiens and the New Jersey Devils last season recording 24 points in 63 games played. He also spent 12 games in the American Hockey League (AHL) with the Laval Rocket where he recorded 10 points in 12 games played. Agostino will most likely spend most if not all his time this season in the AHL with the Toronto Marlies
Toronto traded Nikita Zaitsev, Connor Brown and Michael Carcone to the Ottawa Senators in exchange for Cody Ceci, Ben Harpur, Aaron Luchuk and a 3rd round pick in 2020.
This trade has so many different variables and was more than just a salary dump. Zaitsev had asked the Maple Leafs for a trade and waived his no trade clause (NTC) allowing GM Kyle Dubas to make this trade happen. On the other side, this trade gives Cody Ceci a fresh start on a better team with better structure. Ceci is probably going to play on the right side of the 2nd defensive pairing with Jake Muzzin on the left. It’s been reported that Ceci has verbally agreed to a one year deal for $4.5 Million. Ben Harpur who brings in some much needed size (6’6″) to the Maple Leafs will play on the 3rd defensive pairing with Travis Dermott once Dermott returns from injury. Aaron Luchuk will start the season in the AHL with the Toronto Marlies.
The next move that GM Kyle Dubas made was to sign Jason Spezza to a one year deal at the league minimum of $700,000. Spezza was brought in to add depth at the center position and to bring in some of the leadership lost with both Ron Hainsey & Patrick Marleau leaving. Spezza who is from the Toronto area and grew up cheering for the Maple Leafs couldn’t pass up the opportunity to join his hometown team in the hopes of helping them go deep into the playoffs and hopefully win a Championship. Spezza had the following things to say after signing with Toronto and for signing to the league minimum.
“It doesn’t seem real, to be honest. My family is very excited about it. I grew up a Leafs fan, as probably every kid in Toronto does,” Spezza said.
“I’m playing for love of the game this year, that’s for sure. People give me a hard time for liking practice and being on the ice all the time and I’ve always said ‘I’d play for free’.”
Later in the day on July 1st, Toronto and Colorado made a trade that shocked everyone including the players involved. Toronto traded away fan favourite Nazem Kadri along with defenseman Calle Rosen and a 2020 3rd round pick for Colorado’s Tyson Barrie, Alexander Kerfoot and a 2020 6th round pick.
By acquiring Tyson Barrie, Toronto finally has their top pairing right handed defenseman and to make it even better they’re getting him for only half his cap hit as Colorado is retaining the other 50%. Barrie and Morgan Rielly who are friends off the ice should be a very good top pair for coach Mike Babcock. Alexander Kerfoot is also a solid pick up in this trade as he can play Center or Left Wing and has recorded a combined 85 points over the last two seasons. Kerfoot is a Restricted Free Agent (RFA) so Toronto still has to negotiate a new contract with him, but that shouldn’t be a problem.
Tyson Barrie on the trade: “I think it would be tough to find a better fit for me in the league so I’m excited about it.”
Alexander Kerfoot on the trade: “I don’t know if there’s any place in the league better to be traded to right now than Toronto.”
For his last signing of the day, Toronto GM Kyle Dubas signed 6’4″ Defenseman Kevin Gravel to a one year deal worth $700,000. Gravel is from Kingsford, Michigan and was a 5th round draft pick of the Los Angeles Kings in 2010. Last season he spent time between the Edmonton Oilers and their AHL affiliate the Bakersfield Condors. Gravel will be given a shot in training camp to make the Maple Leafs roster, but it is more likely that he’ll spend most his time playing for the Toronto Marlies in the AHL.
All player stats and salaries are from www.capfriendly.com
Verbal agreement between Cody Ceci and Toronto regarding $4.5 Million deal was reported by TSN’s Darren Dreger.