The Toronto Maple Leafs will play their first game of the 2017-18 NHL season in 67 days.
While it’s not quite time to dust off our jerseys, the Toronto Maple Leafs offseason remains in full swing. Scouring headlines in hopes of finding a piece of Maple Leafs news has been a common challenge this summer. Nonetheless, there’s no harm in reviewing Toronto’s offseason so far. Improvements and disappointments have occurred in Leafs land that needs to be brought back up.
Toronto Maple Leafs Offseason Improvements
To begin, let’s discuss the signing of former San Jose Shark, Patrick Marleau. He is a veteran who is capable of tallying respectable numbers. Last season, the 37-year old recorded 46 points and 27 goals over 82 games. In 1,493 career games, Marleau sports a solid 1,082 points.
Along with his NHL experience comes his leadership. Marleau was the captain of the San Jose Sharks from 2004-2009. While Toronto is staying away from the term ‘captaincy’ as being a priority, there’s no harm in adding an experienced player to help lead a young club.
Push the three-year term and the noticeable price tag of Marleau’s contract aside for a minute. Since 2009, he has played seven full 82 game seasons. He has recorded 472 points during this span (including his 48 game season in 2012-13). By acquiring a player who is experienced, yet manages to remain consistent, will be a valuable improvement to the Leafs roster.
The NHL Entry Draft saw Toronto snag Swedish defensemen, Timothy Liljegren. The Leafs were quick to sign him to a three-year entry level contract after he turned heads in Toronto’s player development camp.
The Maple Leafs were due to draft a player who can adapt within their defensive core. Liljegren is a defenseman poised to be a face of the future. Picking him 17th overall was an opportunity that Toronto management would have been foolish to pass up.
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Trade talk in Leafs land has been minimal. They are yet to complete a notable deal that will help further the clubs chances at contention next season. James van Riemsdyk is still residing in Toronto but remains at the top of many trade bait lists.
Signings and Acquisitions
Toronto picked up Dominic Moore and Ron Hainsey, two players that aren’t necessarily considered to be headline worthy. The signing of Marleau has been the Leafs most notable acquisition this summer and is likely to stand alone as such due to the term and cost of his deal.
The Leafs cap situation used to be a sign that there would be room to breathe for Lou Lamoriello. Due to bonuses and other complications that were revealed earlier this month, signing any player will be difficult. With Marleau holding Toronto’s last roster spot as a contracted player, there isn’t much money to throw around for a player like Connor Brown. Lou has a couple options; wait for the season to begin before signing Brown, or convince him to write off a deal at $1,136,602 annually. The second option isn’t in any realm of possibilities.
In retrospect, the Toronto Maple Leafs offseason hasn’t been disastrous. These summer months have been relatively uneventful, despite a couple improvements and disappointments.
Don’t worry, the perspective of a successful 2017-18 campaign remains bright.