The Toronto Maple Leafs season is in flux.
Despite the uncertainty, we break down every NHL team’s pending UFAs starting with the Metropolitan Division. (Including the Toronto Maple Leafs).
Players may not know how the remainder of this season or the postseason is going to play out.
Contracts remain in place until a decision from NHL brass is made about the future of the 2019-2020 season. That means the Toronto Maple Leafs will have to wait if they have eyes on a pending unrestricted free agent (UFA).
In our four-part series, we break down a comprehensive list of each team’s pending UFAs. We begin with the Metropolitan Division in the Eastern Conference.
The Carolina Hurricanes have four players about to hit the open market. One of them was rumoured to be a target by the Toronto Maple Leafs ahead of the trade deadline, Sami Vatanen.
Vatanen, now 28 years old, is a confident puck handler who is excellent at breakouts. He’s an offensive defenseman and a powerplay specialist. After the Hurricanes traded for Vatanen on trade deadline day, they will likely try to retain him to help their blueline going forward.
Trevor van Riemsdyk
A former Leafs winger’s brother is about to finish his contract. Trevor van Riemsdyk is about to finish his two-year deal worth $2.3 million per season. His future is unsure since this hasn’t been his best season.
The defenseman played on the top pairing but it was not the right place for him. It would have been best to play van Riemsdyk on a bottom pairing and let him thrive there. As a stay-at-home defenseman, he’s not going to create much offense or even add much physicality.
When it comes to laying his body on opponents Joel Edmundson is a UFA defenseman that teams might be interested in signing. This season he threw 118 hits in 68 games. Not known for his offense, he is coming off a career-high in assists with 13. He also had a career-high in points with 20 and he tied his career-high in goals with seven.
Edmundson has put himself in a good position going into free agency to get himself a raise on his current $3.1 million salary. There’s no guarantee of course, especially since Edmundson has been inconsistent this season.
Justin Williams, the Canes’ right-winger, is on an expiring contract. He is a stalwart in the NHL, turning 39 years old in October. Williams has played 19 years in the league including eight of them in Carolina. He still has value on the ice but his best quality is as a dressing room leader and veteran.
Most likely, Williams will either be returning to the Hurricanes or retiring. At this point in his career, he may be satisfied to hang them up with a total of 797 points.