The Free Agents the Toronto Maple Leafs Can Sign at the Frozen Four

Zach Metsa #23 of the Quinnipiac University Bobcats (Photo by Richard T Gagnon/Getty Images)
Zach Metsa #23 of the Quinnipiac University Bobcats (Photo by Richard T Gagnon/Getty Images) /

There is a lot of excitement surrounding the NCAA championship showcase, The Frozen Four. It gets underway on Thursday, April 6. The Toronto Maple Leafs and their scouting team will have a great deal of interest in those three games.

This year, the NCAA men’s hockey national championship features Boston University, University of Minnesota, University of Michigan, and Quinnipiac University. Many Tornto Maple Leafs fans will be watching to see what the team’s top prospect, Matthew Knies can do with his squad in Minnesota.

As much fun as it will be to see Knies dazzle in these highly important games, the real focus should be on a set of players with a high degree of potential who have not been drafted.

The Toronto Maple Leafs have the chance to add new prospects to the organization simply by signing one or multiple players who will be participating in the Frozen Four.

We already know that the organization is ready and willing to do so. We saw them do on Tuesday when they inked forward Grant Cruikshank from St. Cloud State University.

The former college free agent will be playing for the Toronto Marlies on an amateur tryout for the remainder this season. Cruikshank’s deal also locks him up to play for the Marlies on a one-year AHL contract next season.

Participating in the Frozen Four, there are three notable NCAA free agents whom Toronto could be targeting for acquisition. While it would be fun to consider longtime NHLer Tony Amonte’s son Tristan, who plays for Michigan, all three of the hottest free agents play together for Quinnipiac.

Toronto Maple Leafs UFA Frozen Four Options

Collin Graf

There is a lot to like about Collin Graf’s game. He motors up and down the ice while displaying his soft touch with the puck. Last season with Union College, the 6’0″, 181 lbs right-winger and center recorded 22 points in 37 contests. His points were evenly split between goals and assists.

This season, 20-year-old Graf has been playing with the Bobcats. Under Head Coach Rand Pecknold, Graf has excelled. His offense exploded to the tune of 20 goals and 36 assists for a total of 56 points in 36 games.

Zach Metsa

It appears as though 24-year-old blueliner Zach Metsa has blossomed this season as well. Named captain of the team this year, Metsa has been a steady presence on the back end for the Bobcats.

Not only has Metsa shown that while playing his fifth season in the NCAA that he can be trusted in all situations, but he can also help his team on the scoreboard. In 38 games, the 5’9″, 181 lbs athlete has potted eight goals and added 25 assists. It has been a good followup to last season’s 37 point performance over 42 games.

Yaniv Perets

Goaltender Yaniv Perets is a big reason why Quinnipac is the third ranked NCAA team. Born in the town with no sidewalks, Dollard-des-Ormeaux, Perets is now in his third season with the Bobcats. This year, he has posted a record of 32-4-3.

Through those 39 games, he has put up a 1.46 goals-against average along with a save percentage of .932. In an odd coincidence, the 6’1″ stopper weighs the same amount as his teammates Graf and Metsa.

Having just turned 23 in March, Perets will undoubtedly be given an opportunity to continue his playing career by joining a professional team. We shall see whether it’s for one in the Maple Leafs organization.

One More Free Agent to Watch

Michael Lombardi has been a steady player for Quinnipiac throughout his five years there. Though he isn’t going to receive the same level of attention as the above three players, he may find himself playing in the ECHL next year.

Next. Who the Leafs will Likely Pick in the 2023 NHL Draft. dark

All statistics are from Elite Prospects. The 24-year-old forward has skated in 39 contests this season where he’s recorded 10 goals and 12 assists.