Maple Leafs sign Petr Mrazek and forward Michael Bunting – .

Maple Leafs sign Petr Mrazek and forward Michael Bunting – .

TORONTO – The Toronto Maple Leafs wasted no time in filling their need for a number 1 free agency on Wednesday.
The club have entered into a three-year contract with UFA Petr Mrazek, who is leaving the Carolina Hurricanes on a new contract worth $ 3.8 million a year. Kevin Weekes was the first to break the news.

Former Maple Leaf Frederik Andersen signed with the Hurricanes for two years and $ 9 million, completing a UFA goaltender trade. Carolina also agreed to a deal with UFA Antti Raanta, forming a whole new tandem.

“We have to find a competent partner for Jack Campbell and let them fight. Obviously, Jack has had a great season. We believe in Jack a lot and hope he continues to take action next year. But we have to fix this problem, ”said Toronto general manager Kyle Dubas last week.

“It’s about making sure we’re empowered in this regard to prepare goalies for success. “

Mrazek, 29, is well used to playing in a 1A / 1B tandem and is expected to start the season with more security, experience and bigger paychecks than Campbell, whose $ 1.65million contract ends. ends in 2022.

Mrazek was 6-2-3 with three shutouts and a .923 save percentage for the Hurricanes in an injury-plagued 2020-21 season.

He had right thumb surgery in February and returned in April.

Mrazek only made two games of the 2021 playoffs, posting an .873 save percentage, and ultimately lost his starting job to promising Alex Nedeljkovic – who was later transferred to the Red Wings from Detroit as part of a cost reduction. moved last week.

With Andersen off the books, the Leafs are saving $ 1.2 million on their goaltending tandem year after year.

Toronto also explored a deal for Arizona goalie Darcy Kuemper, but found the price too high.

Leafs sign valuable winger Bunting

Never forget where you come from.

The life motto that Michael Bunting tagged on his social media bio appears to double as a foreshadowing for the native and unrestricted free agent of Scarborough, Ont.

After moving away from the Arizona Coyotes and showing interest from several contenders, Bunting signed with his hometown Maple Leafs.

This is a two-year pact with a cap of $ 950,000.

Spending his entire career under the radar, the late-blooming Bunting was drafted 160th in the 2013 OHL Draft – Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds GM Kyle Dubas.

Under Sheldon Keefe, then Soo’s coach, Bunting thrived offensively, amassing 116 points in his 105 games in the OHL.

The connections are obvious and the price should be right.

“It all comes down to value,” Dubas said last week of his free agency strategy.

Barring a trade on the roster (Alexander Kerfoot’s name has surfaced in rumors), the heaviest Maple Leafs have around $ 4.6 million in their account to complete their 2021-22 roster.

So the club bids farewell to UFAs Zach Hyman (seven-year-old at $ 5.5 million in Edmonton), Alex Galchenyuk (exploring an eighth NHL franchise), Zach Bogosian (joining Tampa Bay on the cheap), and may -be Nick Foligno (another Wild target).

Well, what about Bunting?

The 25-year-old left winger was a 2014 Coyotes fourth-round pick. He has spent at least part of the past six seasons in the AHL and has never written a one-sided NHL contract. level.

At five feet 11 inches and 197 pounds, he’s a blue collar style player with legitimate blue collar roots.

Her mother, Lynda, was an accountant at a local store. Her father, Andy, was collecting garbage for the city.

Although he grew up in Mecca, Bunting played high school hockey for most of his formative years because AAA in the GTHL is so prohibitive.

“I still remember the day,” Bunting told of his essay with the Don Mills AAA Flyers. “They showed me how much it would cost. I said, OK, I’ll talk to you later. I don’t think I will play. “”

The Flyers have come up with a payout plan, Bunting’s stock has grown with his game, and he remains in debt.

Never forget where you come from.

Bunting fell into that rare group of Group VI free agents made up of players who played at least three professional seasons but less than 80 games in the NHL before turning 25.

Honing his skills in the AHL Tuscon, Bunting quietly erupted in 2021, scoring 10 goals and registering nine takeaways (plus three assists) in 21 games while skating over 15 minutes a night for a struggling Coyotes club.

He’s been mostly used in offensive situations (68.9 percent of his shifts start in Zone O) and could either stay in the mid-midfield of the Leafs or suffer the same fate as, say, a Nic Petan. – an interpolated AHL / NHL who was not qualified by Toronto on Monday after several opportunities in the big leagues.

Bunting’s high shooting percentage (26.3) could be taken as a red flag or an indication of his willingness to drive towards fatty areas.

“He just looked at himself in the mirror last year and said, ‘I have to be more professional and I have to prepare to play,’” former coach Rick Tocchet told Ken Campbell in May. “Came in great shape, was sent straight away, no attitude. He was Tucson’s best player and [Roadrunners coach] Steve Potvin couldn’t say enough about him.

“A guy ready to go to the net. If you look at his goals, they’re all close to the net.

A new NHL contract marks a wonderful summer for Bunting, who won a world championship gold with Team Canada in June.


• The Maple Leafs signed a one-year NHL-level contract with center depth Michael Amadio worth $ 750,000. Amadio, 25, split his 2020-21 season between the Kings and the Senators, collecting three assists in 25 games.

• Toronto is still in the race for a number of two-way forward with more NHL experience than Bunting, but their UFA goals are soaring. Mikael Granlund has recovered from Nashvill and Nick Bonino heads for the Sharks.

• Dubas leaves Hyman without ceding his rights to Ken Holland. The GM Oilers’ best offer would have been two draft picks, including one in the first five rounds.

• The Maple Leafs have acquired the rights to defenseman Brennan Menell of Minnesota in exchange for a conditional seventh-round selection in 2022. The selection will move to Minnesota if Menell plays 30 games with the Maple Leafs this season. Menell, 24, ranked second among KHL defensemen with 38 points (five goals, 33 assists) in 47 regular season games, and added seven points (one goal, six assists) in five playoff games with Dinamo Minsk. He has played five games in total with the Wild and is still chasing his first point in the NHL.

• The 2022 third-round pick Toronto spent to hire goaltender David Rittich at the 2021 trade deadline was used by the Calgary Flames to acquire Chicago defenseman Nikita Zadorov.

• Toronto is reportedly interested in putting local talent and former New York Islanders prospect Josh Ho-Sang on a pro tryout.


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