After signing two unrestricted free agents and making the Phil Kessel deal, the Toronto Maple Leafs focused on one of their own. They have signed Richard Panik to a new one-year deal, worth $975,000.
Leafs re-sign Richard Panik, one year, $975k
— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) July 1, 2015
Panik was claimed off of waivers from the Tampa Bay Lightning early on in the season and played pretty well after joining the team. He played 76 games with Toronto and amassed 17 points. That was good enough for a career-high in both games played and points after not much of a chance to play with the Lightning early on in the season.
He was a reliable player in the bottom-six. He might not have been an most offensive player but he didn’t make many mistakes. You can’t say that about most of the Maple Leafs lineup from this past season. Now during the rebuild, he’ll get the chance to possibly up his play if enough players are dealt out.
If there has been one thing in common that all the new contracts that have Toronto has signed, it’s that they are all short-term. There have been a lot of one-year deals handed out since the season ended. The only two players to get two-year deals so far have been Zach Hyman and Matt Hunwick. It looks like the Leafs are just signing players that can serve as transitional pieces in their lineup until their prospects are ready to make the jump to the NHL.
Another thing with one-year deals, is that they could become useful rental players at the trade deadline. Now, it doesn’t seem like Panik would get much of a return, but if he plays well, you never know what could happen.
Follow all of Wednesday’s free agent signings with The Hockey Writers’ Free Agent Tracker.
RELATED: P.A. Parenteau Signs With Toronto
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Toronto Maple Leafs Writer At The Hockey Writers.