There are few days in the hockey calendar that fans look forward to above all else. The start of the playoffs, the NHL Entry Draft and of course the beginning of the free agency period.
For the Toronto Maple Leafs, the last few weeks have been a rollercoaster. They had the draft and recently welcomed new and talented prospects into the organization. There were trade rumours and speculation galore, but the Leafs stood pat and didn’t make any huge moves. That is until July 1st came around. This is a recap and analysis of the deals the Maple Leafs made on the opening day of free agency.
Maple Leafs Sign Forward P.A. Parenteau
Parenteau is a speedy winger that was brought in by the Leafs for the upcoming season. He was signed to a deal that will pay him $1.5 million for the year. The former Hab accumulated 26 points in 56 games last season, but was recently bought out by the Canadiens. He provides the Leafs with depth and speed, as well as a potentially tradable asset down the road.
Parenteau fits Leafs need for short-term help at RW. Kessel and Lupul only experienced fits there (for how long?) at the moment.
— Jonas Siegel (@jonassiegel) July 1, 2015
Maple Leafs Deal Phil Kessel to the Penguins
This is easily the biggest trade of the day. After months of speculation, Kessel is no longer a Maple Leaf. He joins the offensively talented Penguins and will look to occupy a spot on the wing of either Evgeni Malkin or Sidney Crosby. Joining Kessel in the deal are Tim Erixon, Tyler Biggs and a 2016 second-round pick.
Going back the Leafs way, the Buds acquired budding forward Kasperi Kapanen, young defenseman Scott Harrington, depth forward Nick Spaling, a 2016 first-round pick and a 2016 third-round pick. The Buds will also retain $1.25 million in salary.
It was a heck of a trade, that will assure the fortunes of both clubs are tied together for years to come.
Maple Leafs Sign Defenseman Matt Hunwick
The Leafs made a quick move at the start of the day and brought abroad the veteran defenseman. Hunwick was signed to a two-year deal that is worth $2.4 million. He most recently played with the New York Rangers and was called upon to be a depth defender. He gives the Buds some solid experience on blueline.
Maple Leafs Sign Forward Mark Arcobello
— Frank Seravalli (@frank_seravalli) July 1, 2015
The Blue and White picked up and signed the 26-year old forward to a one-year deal worth $1.1 million. Arcobello played with four different teams last season which saw him start with Edmonton and subsequently make stops with Nashville, Pittsburgh and Arizona.
The former Coyote is a good possession player, something desperately needed on the Leafs. His deal also gives the Buds flexibility to move him for future assets if the need should arise.
Maple Leafs Sign Forward Daniel Winnik
In Winnik, the Leafs welcomed back a player they had traded last season. He was originally shipped to the Penguins, and in return the Leafs received Zach Sill, a 2015 fourth-round pick (that turned into Jesper Lindgren) and a 2016 second-round pick.
Daniel Winnik's two-year deal in Toronto carries a $2.25M AAV. Nice raise for him.
— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) July 1, 2015
This time around, Winnik got two years and a contract worth $4.5 million. The veteran forward was a solid penalty killer and leader for the Maple Leafs. He plays a tough, grinding style that allows him to fore-check hard and be responsible in his own zone.
It was an incredibly eventful day for the Blue and White. They were albe to sign some interesting players to help fill out their roster, as well as acquire some big pieces for the future as part of the Kessel deal. Rest assured, the Maple Leafs aren’t done making moves. It was a good start, but the rebuild must continue. It was a busy day indeed.
— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) July 1, 2015