Jordie Benn – Dallas Stars (PTO)
Midway through July last summer, Jordie Benn signed a league minimum one-way deal with the Maple Leafs. He was expected to be a depth piece playing out the season with the Toronto Marlies.
Benn had a different idea, after being injured in training camp the journeyman defenseman returned in late October to the Maple Leafs and looked like a solid physical depth defenseman on the team. He even recorded a goal in his first game in a Maple Leafs jersey, then added an assist in his second contest.
Unfortunately, injuries derailed his season and as the season went on he just kept sliding down the depth chart and did not get into another NHL game once the calendar turned to February finishing the season with the Marlies.
Benn recently signed a professional tryout with the Dallas Stars to see if he can prolong his NHL career with the team that he started with.
Zach Aston-Reese – Free Agent
Going into the 2022-23 training camp, Zach Aston-Reese joined the Maple Leafs on a professional tryout and he ended up earning a contract for the season. ZAR proved to be a dependable fourth line winger leading the team in hits and had a career high ten goals.
The Staten Island native even got into six of the Toronto Maple Leafs playoff games recording one goal.
I would have expected Aston-Reese to get an NHL contract this time around as he plays a good depth role, but ZAR has not be able to get an offer from any team at this point and is currently a free agent.
Wayne Simmonds – Free Agent
The Toronto Maple Leafs brought Wayne Simmonds into the organization shortly before the 2020-21 season on a one-year $1.5M deal. While he had his moments at the start of the season including scoring five goals in a six game stretch, it was evident that his prime years were well behind him as he scored just two goals in the other 32 games.
There must have been something Dubas loved as he signed Simmonds for an additional two seasons, but at a much lower $950,000 per season. Unfortunately, no matter how much Simmonds bled blue, the game was just to fast for him.
This past season, Simmonds dressed for just 18 games and recorded just two points. He has not signed a contract with anyone and my guess was that he was going to retire and join the franchise in some sort of coaching role.