#8 Nick Paul
Born: Mississauga, Ontario
Position: Centre, Left Wing
Expiring Contract: $1.35 million AAV
If Jason Spezza can cross the Ontario battlefield as a former Ottawa Senator, so can Nick Paul. The Toronto Maple Leafs have seen what he can do in the playoffs. He scored twice in game seven of their first round series.
He’s been on fire since going to the Tampa Bay Lightning at the trade deadline with five goals and 14 points in 21 regular season games. If he was signed by the Leafs, he could fit in on their second line with John Tavares and William Nylander. If not, he’s a great third line player.
The odds of his joining the Toronto Maple Leafs may not be great, but it really depends on how much salary space the Leafs can clear and how badly Nick Paul wants to play in front of his family and friends in Toronto. Paul was a Leafs fan growing up and attended games in Toronto with his childhood friend, Max Domi.
Nick Paul may be due a fair-sized payday after his recent success with the Lightning and the deeper they go, the more he could earn. I wouldn’t blame him for “taking the money” instead of a hometown discount since he’s only earned a total of approximately $4,481,466 over eight seasons.