4 UFAs That Would Improve the Maple Leafs for $1 Million or Less

PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA - NOVEMBER 02: Tyler Pitlick #18 of the Philadelphia Flyers checks Travis Dermott #23 of the Toronto Maple Leafs in the corner during the first period at the Wells Fargo Center on November 02, 2019 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA - NOVEMBER 02: Tyler Pitlick #18 of the Philadelphia Flyers checks Travis Dermott #23 of the Toronto Maple Leafs in the corner during the first period at the Wells Fargo Center on November 02, 2019 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

As free agency comes into focus the Toronto Maple Leafs may not have a lot of money available to spend, but that doesn’t mean they can’t find good value while working to improve.

It’s no secret that the Toronto Maple Leafs have been up against the ceiling of their salary cap for some time now, with no anticipation of coming down from it any time soon. They’ll have to be creative in seeking budget-friendly solutions.

As Kyle Dubas continues to face scrutiny for some of his more expensive signings, it’s still too early to make the final decision on whether they can be deemed successful or not. In the meantime, he has the rest of his roster to fine-tune year in and year out.

Even the reigning Stanley Cup champions from any given season are forced into a position where they face pivotal personnel decisions. This is less about changing Dubas’ plan and more about filling in the gaps to help it carry forward.

With that said, a roster that’s being constructed with as much diligence as the Maple Leafs currently are can’t rely on just adding anyone available to their locker room. They need to find good fits.

This is clearly a team that’s focused on speed, skill, and scoring. Whether onlookers agree with that approach or not, the overall strategy won’t be changing any time soon. However, that doesn’t mean Dubas won’t try to supplement where it makes sense to.

While most fill their feeds with big-ticket rumours about players like Alex Pietrangelo, there are many beneficial bargains ripe and ready to be picked up. It’s not always the most expensive piece that completes a set.

Here are four unrestricted free agents that could each cost less than $1 million and on a short enough term that the gamble makes even more sense. Toronto can’t afford failing to consider giving these players a shot.

Dominik Simon (RW/LW)

Spending his first five years in the league as part of the Pittsburgh Penguins organization, Dominik Simon played alongside some of the league’s most prolific producers. His name was rarely the one recognized most, but he still found a way to make an impact.

Sharing a line and a locker room with Sidney Crosby throughout his tenure in Pittsburgh, Simon has clearly illustrated that he can help round out the top lines in the league playing on either wing. Toronto could benefit from that type of versatility in supporting their superstars.


At 26 years old, Simon would fit within the average age amongst the youthful Maple Leafs. He still has years ahead of him to further develop and produce. Earning $750,000 per year the past two seasons, Toronto could benefit from Simon agreeing to replicate that deal.

Tyler Ennis (C/LW/RW)

Starting next season as a 31-year-old, Tyler Ennis would be amongst the oldest throughout the Maple Leafs’ lineup. Although they are clearly building in a way that’s led by youth, Ennis plays a style that’s fuelled by speed and skill and that aligns with Toronto’s approach.

With the adaptability of being able to slot into three different roles throughout the roster, Ennis could be a dangerous addition to confuse any scouting report. With bottom-six expectations, he’s shown he can move up and down any lineup.

What’s more, is the familiarity he’d have in re-joining the franchise. Ennis played 51 games in Toronto through the 2018-19 season and his passion was impossible to ignore. Coming off a one-year contract worth $800,000, the Maple Leafs could make Ennis a fan favourite again.

Tyler Pitlick (RW)

Adding soon to be 29-year-old Tyler Pitlick into their fold, the Maple Leafs would help fill out some depth on their forward lines.

It’s safe to assume that with Gauthier and Clifford  wearing non-Toronto jerseys at the start of next season, that the Leafs will be on the lookout for forward depth.  Instead of just finding replacement bodies, the Maple Leafs could use a player that strengthens their build.

Pitlick can position himself offensively, earning modest production through his career, while also leveraging his physicality to shut things down on the defensive end. If the Maple Leafs can get him at the $1 million he made in each of the past three seasons, his style of play would prove to be a fit.

Pat Maroon (LW/RW)

Pat Maroon has now extended his career one year at a time, with minimal term deals the past two seasons. The 32-year-old made those opportunities count, as he’s now achieved back-to-back Stanley Cups while still finding his way onto the scoresheet.

His impact has been felt throughout those postseason pushes, as well. Maroon rarely shies away from infusing physicality into his approach and that added strength could really fulfill a need for Toronto.

Maroon has proven to be a playoff wildcard in recent years and there’s no reason to assume it won’t maintain. Matching the $900,000 he made last year just to see if he can do the same in Toronto wouldn’t be the silliest way to spend their funds.

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Despite a frustrating finish to 2019-20, Toronto shouldn’t be looking to tear it all down and re-strategize.. While they work towards further cohesion, adding Simon, Ennis, Pitlick, or Maroon at under $1 million for next season could prove to be a piece they’ve been missing.