The Toronto Maple Leafs added two pieces on July 1. They signed veteran defenseman Ron Hainsey to a two-year $6 million contract and then added center Dominic Moore on a one-year $1 million deal. Neither player is expected to produce in the top part of their respective positions, but both are key adds from a depth and veteran leadership perspective.
Ron Hainsey and the Leafs System
In what appeared almost like a trade, Matt Hunwick has moved from the Leafs to the Pittsburgh Penguins and Hainsey has come from the Penguins to Toronto.
While likely not slotted into a top-four role, Hainsey has an opportunity to be effective in a more prominent role with the Leafs, perhaps playing up in the lineup on occasion. He is a 36-year-old defender who helped stabilize an injured blue line for the Pittsburgh Penguins in their Cup run in 2016-17 and he played over 21 minutes per game.
The $3 million per year the Leafs are paying Hainsey means they may play him close to that amount in 2017-18. It may be too heavy a load, but he was given heavy defensive responsibility against tough competition in key situations for the Penguins and no doubt for the Leafs, this is a plus they felt would help them over the next two seasons.
Before that, Hainsey was part of the Carolina Hurricanes organization and the system employed in Carolina is much like the system employed in Toronto. This was a key factor in Hainsey’s decision to join the Maple Leafs.
When asked why the Leafs were a fit, Hainsey responded:
The system is a great fit for me. When Bill Peters got to Carolina and put the system in which is basically what Mike does, it really suited my game. It’s a system I’m really confident playing. That, coupled with everything that is going on there with all the young forwards who can create so much offense, and from Shanny on down, you’d be nuts if you didn’t want to be part of this group. You’d be nuts. I really believe that.
Hainsey should be a nice veteran add on a very young blue line corps and part of his role will be to mentor the youngsters as they navigate their way through the NHL and hopefully another return to the postseason in 2017-18.
— Leafs PR (@LeafsPR) July 1, 2017
Dominic Moore was a solid pick up and great veteran presence for the Boston Bruins last season. Still, Bruins management decided they would be moving on to allow younger players more ice time. Moore has found a home in Toronto on a one-year deal where he will be a great fit to complement the Toronto Maple Leafs young roster.
Like Hainsey, Moore is 36 years old and played an important role for his former team. Moore finished with 11 goals and 25 points in 82 games and was leaned on heavily in defensive positions and key zone faceoffs and he’s coming back to Toronto where those skills will be a nice fit. His career record with the Leafs is 55 points in 101 games in 2007-08 and 2008-09.
Moore understands he’ll be a fourth-line center with the Leafs. He won’t be counted on for offense, but he’s a career 53.3 percent in faceoffs and plays penalty kill time on a regular basis. Moore also brings 99 games of playoff experience, having played in two Conference Finals in Tampa Bay and Montreal in addition to a Cup Finals appearance with the Rangers in 2014.
Jim Parsons is a senior THW freelance writer, part-time journalist and audio/video host who lives, eats, sleeps and breathes NHL news and rumors, while also writing features on the Edmonton Oilers. He’s been a trusted source for five-plus years at The Hockey Writers, but more than that, he’s on a mission to keep readers up to date with the latest NHL rumors and trade talk. Jim is a daily must for readers who want to be “in the know.”