Toronto Maple Leafs: Hometown Unrestricted Free Agents Class of 2021

(L-R) Jake Muzzin #8 and Jason Spezza #19 of the Toronto Maple Leafs (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
(L-R) Jake Muzzin #8 and Jason Spezza #19 of the Toronto Maple Leafs (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

Didn’t take long for the Toronto Maple Leafs and hometown product Jason Spezza to agree on a league-minimum one-year deal.

That positions Spezza to carve himself a bigger place into Leafs lore and to separate himself amongst his peers of the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) who also signed on with the Toronto maple Leafs as a free agent at some point in their NHL career.

Players such as: Dave Reid, Mike Johnson, Gary Roberts, Jason Allison, Michael Peca, David Clarkson, Shawn Matthias, Brad Boyes, Dominic Moore, John Tavares, Jason Spezza, and Wayne Simmonds. (stats

A good chunk of those guys arrived at the end of their careers. And Clarkson’s ended when he arrived in his prime. So, there’s some truth to this Leafs graveyard moniker, even in this regard.

But not all is dark. Gary Roberts played four consecutive seasons beginning 2000-01, accumulating 83g and 74a in 237 games, and advanced to the conference finals in 2002.

Fast forward to today – Spezza joins Tavares and for now they stand alone, but don’t count out Simmonds and Hyman just yet. Plus, with a few middling-positions up for grabs and upgrading always an option, the Leafs very well could add to their stable of homers.

Top-5 Hometown UFAs 2021 

Andrew Cogliano – $3,250,000

34-year-old left-shooting winger Andrew Cogliano is at the tail end of his career and might not score like before, but he remains a strong defensive specialist and penalty killer.

Cogliano should be looking at a pay cut, but only near the minimum would he fit with the Leafs.

Brendan Smith – $4,350,000

The left-shooting defenseman transitioned to left-wing for a bit, but primarily plays either side of the blueline where he has enjoyed killing penalties.

At 32 years, Smith still has a bit to offer, but not until he considers taking a considerable pay cut would he be an enticing option for the Buds.

Casey Cizikas – $3,350,000

The 30-year-old left-shooting centerman brings an edge to his game, with plenty of grit and checking ability. He would help solidify the Leafs depth at center, especially in killing penalties, but he wouldn’t provide much on offense.

It’s difficult justifying millions to a bottom-6 player who seemingly can’t move up the lineup, but if Cizikas is willing to take a pay cut, he’d be an interesting option to consider.

Jamie Oleksiak – $2,137,500

Oleksiak to Toronto has been out there for a couple of years already, so perhaps the time has finally come.

A left-shooting defenseman who uses his size and reach in shutting down opponents as much as brute strength. Standing 6’7 at the prime age of 28, there’s still a lot to give.

Dougie Hamilton – $5,750,000

A true #1 defenseman in the prime of his career will look to what former OHL Niagara Ice Dogs teammate and fellow Torontonian Alex Pietrangelo received last year ($8.8 M).

Hamilton’s got a big shot, and he likes to shoot, but at 6’6 he doesn’t use his size to his advantage.

Next. Big Name Players the Leafs Could Trade For. dark

This year’s UFA list includes some intriguing names that would add to the stable of homers now playing for the Toronto Maple Leafs. A hometown presence has been pretty solid under Dubas, so don’t be surprised when it grows.