Toronto Maple Leafs
After re-signing veteran Jason Spezza to a one-year deal at the league minimum $700K earlier this week, Toronto made two key acquisitions through the open market on Friday.
The first signing of the day was that of hometown boy Wayne Simmonds on a one-year contract at $1.5 million. Simmonds has struggled offensively the last two seasons and is far removed from the 60 point player he once was in Philadelphia, but he can still contribute to a Toronto lineup that will benefit from his grit and experience. Expect Simmonds to slot in on Toronto’s third line and contribute 30-35 points if the NHL goes ahead with an 82 game season for 2020-21.
The second signing the Leafs made was snagging blueliner T.J. Brodie from the Calgary Flames on a 4-year deal worth $5 million per season. Brodie is a talented offensive defenseman who will get a chance to play big minutes on Toronto’s second powerplay unit while filling the departing Tyson Barrie’s absence on the right side.
The Senators’ main transaction today was the contract extension of recently acquired goaltender Matt Murray who came over in a trade with Pittsburgh. After walking away from veteran netminder Craig Anderson last week, Ottawa made a point of improving their status in goal by trading for the two-time Stanley Cup winner.
His contract comes in a bit pricy at four years and $6.25 million per year, especially for a player who put up subpar numbers this season with the Penguins. But a change of scenery to an up-and-coming Canadian team might be just what the doctor ordered, and the Sens are willing to take that bet.
Ottawa also signed forwards Logan Shaw and Matthew Peca, but will still have plenty of moves to make to replace the departed Mark Borowiecki and Bobby Ryan. They’re also $8 million shy of the cap floor right now, so they’ll need to add some players either via trade or free agency in the coming weeks and months.
Montreal was the quietest Canadian team today, signing three players to short-term deals at or near league minimum. However, their biggest moves came in the days leading up to free agency where they traded star forward Max Domi and a third-round draft pick to the Columbus Blue Jackets for winger Josh Anderson.
Domi finished tied for third in scoring on the Habs this past season with 44 points in 71 games, while Anderson struggled mightily in an injury-plagued season with Columbus, posting only 4 points in 26 games. As a result, many fans were left scratching their heads at this move, but Montreal clearly believes in the player they received, having signed Anderson to a 7-year, $38.5 million contract extension on Thursday.
It will definitely be interesting to see what else General Manager Marc Bergevin has up his sleeve this offseason, as Montreal could still use some offensive help after finishing 19th in the NHL in goals for per game played last season.