With NHL free company opening in lower than 10 days, all 32 NHL groups can be in preparation mode. Before that, the 2023 NHL Draft will happen on June, 28 and 29, 2023, the place the final managers (GM) of every group will hope to search out future centrepieces for his or her membership. However, most contenders will attempt to add that key piece via free company to assist their crew instantly, and generally it really works out.
Contending golf equipment sometimes take an opportunity on help gamers on the open market, and infrequently, it appears like a steal. This has occurred many instances for the Toronto Maple Leafs, particularly throughout the Auston Matthews period, when former GM Kyle Dubas signed low-risk, high-reward gamers like David Kampf.
Related: Top 3 Worst Free Agent Signings in Maple Leafs History
This article is the second of two components that have a look at the perfect and worst Maple Leafs signings. These are the three finest in franchise historical past.
The Maple Leafs’ “Cujo” or Curtis Joseph, who was and nonetheless is adored by Leafs Nation, grew to become one of the crew’s most cherished gamers. In 1998, the crew signed him to a four-year deal worth $24 million, which was a excessive value for a goalie. He joined Glen Healy and Felix Potvin, however in his first season with the crew, he assumed the beginning job and performed in 67 video games. He had a 35-24-7 file with a 2.56 goals-against common (GAA) and a .910 save share (SV%). He completed second in Vezina Trophy voting and fourth in Hart Trophy (MVP) voting in his first season.
During his four-year stint with the Maple Leafs, Joseph appeared in 249 video games with a 133-88-27 file. He was within the award race annually of his contract. In 1999-2000, he received the King Clancy Trophy (awarded to the participant who finest exemplifies management qualities) and completed third in Vezina Trophy voting. In 2000-01 and 2001-02, he completed eighth and tenth in Vezina voting, respectively.
He was traded to the Calgary Flames on the conclusion of his contract in June 2002 in change for a 2003 third-round choose, which was finally traded to the Minnesota Wild. Joseph did return to the Maple Leafs as a free agent once more in 2008, as a 41-year-old. This time, he grew to become the backup, showing in 21 video games, however solely began 11 of them; his file was 5-9-1.
The late nice Borje Salming is the perfect defenceman to ever lace up skates for the Maple Leafs. It appears exhausting to consider that he wasn’t an authentic draft choose however was signed as a free agent on May 12, 1973. Finding his contract particulars was troublesome, however some reports say that his deal was for one yr with an AAV of $70,000, however that is simply an estimate. Regardless of his monetary worth, his worth as a participant was priceless. Salming performed 16 seasons with the membership, shortly cementing his legacy as a Maple Leafs legend.
Related: The Hockey Writers’ Final Combined 2023 Draft Rankings – Top 32
Latest News & Highlights
During these 16 seasons, he scored 148 targets and 620 assists, which nonetheless stands as probably the most factors by a defenceman in crew historical past. He was all the time within the working for some award, whether or not it’s the Calder Trophy (Best Rookie) in his first season, the Norris Trophy (Best Defenceman) or Lady Byng (Sportsmanship). Although he by no means received any of them, he was all the time within the dialogue. He did, nonetheless, seem in three All-Star Games in three consecutive years, 1976, 1977 and 1978. Salming was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1996, and in 2017 was named one of the perfect 100 gamers in NHL historical past. The Maple Leafs additionally gave him a spot on Legends Row exterior of the Maple Leafs’ Scotiabank Arena.
For some time, it appeared like free brokers didn’t need to come house to Toronto. The provincial tax price is pretty excessive, in addition to the crew’s efficiency within the final decade has been poor. Well, that modified when John Tavares agreed to a mega deal to carry him house, price $77 million over seven years, which comes with an AAV of $11 million per season. This is the biggest free-agent contract in franchise historical past. Unfortunately, bringing the Cup house hasn’t occurred but, and he’s coming into the second final yr of his deal. While most don’t just like the cap hit, he has nonetheless been a really productive participant for the crew.
In the final 5 seasons, the Maple Leafs’ captain has 155 targets and 199 assists, which incorporates his career-high in targets in 2018-19, with 47. This is the sort of participant that Dubas knew he would get. Unfortunately, Tavares has turn into the goal of loads of criticism as a consequence of his hefty cap hit. However, given his price of manufacturing and the influence he has had on the crew, this signing will all the time be one of the franchise’s higher ones.
You May Also Like:
Others could possibly be listed right here, however I feel these are the three finest signings in Maple Leafs’ historical past. Alexander Mogilny signing a four-year deal price $22 million and Ed Belfour coming to the Maple Leafs on a two-year deal price $13.5 million are honourable mentions that might have simply made this listing. However, Joseph, Salming and Tavares are the categories of contracts that NHL GMs like to be related to.