On July 28, 2021, Toronto Maple Leafs General Manager Kyle Dybas signed what turned out to be the best contract that off-season.
Bunting was a pest to opponents but it was often commented by his teammates how much they loved having him on their team.
The Scarborough native would go on to score 23-goals in each of those two seasons in Toronto including collecting a total of 112-ponts in 161 games while wearing the Maple Leafs crest.
The point totals do not tell the whole story, however, as Michael Bunting’s scoring came mostly at 5v5, and he gave the Leafs incredible value for what he was paid.
Toronto Maple Leafs: Michael Bunting Impresses In Pre-Season Debut
As the summer began, it was evident that the Toronto Maple Leafs were not going to be able to sign Bunting back to the organization due to the term and amount of money he was going to get on the open market. It was confirmed once the Carolina Hurricanes offered him a three-year deal for $4.5 Million a season ($13.5 Million total).
On Wednesday night, the pesky forward made his Hurricanes debut as he dressed for their second game of the pre-season.
Lining up against the Florida Panthers, Bunting showed exactly the type of player he was going to be for the Hurricanes, which including being involved in scrums, frustrating opponents and getting on the scoresheet.
Bunting was often found in the middle of mayhem and just five minutes into the game he had drawn his first penalty.
The Hurricanes had a surge in the third period when they scored three goals in just over three minutes, that was capped off with Bunting setting up Brady Skjei to put the team up 3-1. Then with just a couple minutes left in the game, Bunting put the contest away with his first goal in the red and white jersey.
The former wing man to Auston Matthews finished the night with nearly 19 minutes of ice-time, collected a goal and an assist, while also leading the team with four shots and drawing a penalty which all led to him being named second star of the game.
The Toronto Maple Leafs organization have had to say goodbye to a lot of top end players because of the salary cap which has led to fans being able to cheer for these players in different cities, Bunting is just the next on the list.