On Tuesday, October 10th, 2023 it was announced that Noah Gregor, the player on a PTO with the Toronto Maple Leafs, has signed a one-year deal worth $775,000.
Terrific news for Gregor and the Toronto Leafs as they continue to search for the missing pieces for their machine. As we are all aware, in the high-stakes world of professional hockey every roster decision matters.
For the Leafs, the signing of Noah Gregor is not just another transaction; it’s a strategic move that could redefine their fortunes in the upcoming 23/24 NHL season
. With his impressive background, versatile skill set, and willingness to prove himself, Gregor brings a new dynamic to the Leafs that could be the key to the success of the team. But who is Noah Gregor? Where did he come from? Why is he slowly (but surely) becoming a common name seen throughout Toronto’s depth charts and Leafs fans alike?
Noah Gregor – the Perfect Fit for the Toronto Maple Leafs
Noah Gregor’s journey to the NHL is a testament to his dedication and perseverance. Born on July 28, 1998, in Edmonton, Alberta, the recently turned 25-year-old, Gregor’s passion for hockey was evident from a young age. He worked his way through minor hockey leagues and, eventually, joined the Western Hockey League (WHL), where he played for the Moose Jaw Warriors, the Victoria Royals, and the Prince Albert Raiders respectively.
Gregor’s impressive junior career included notching 293 points in 257 games, showcasing his scoring ability and playmaking prowess, as well as playing for Team Canada at the World Junior Championship for the 2015-2016 tournament. Despite Canada’s disappointing 4th place finish, Gregor was in good company which allowed him an opportunity to play alongside Tyson Yost, Jordan Kyrou, Jacob Chychrun, and Maxime Comtois to name a few.
It was during his time in the CHL and with Team Canada that Gregor’s stock began to rise. His leadership on and off the ice earned him a top spot on the Raiders in the 2018-2019 season.
This responsibility not only solidified his reputation as a team player but also showcased his natural scoring and playmaking abilities. Gregor’s performance did not go unnoticed, and he was selected by the San Jose Sharks in the fourth round (111th overall) of the 2016 NHL Entry Draft. Not bad at all for a player such as Gregor.
Gregor’s transition to the professional ranks was a testament to his adaptability and versatility. He spent the majority of his early professional career in the American Hockey League (AHL), working and developing his skills which translated into gaining invaluable experience.
His AHL journey with the San Jose Barracuda saw him develop into a reliable forward with an innate ability to contribute at both ends of the ice. His consistent point production, forechecking ability, and strong defensive play quickly made him a trustworthy option for San Jose.
The breakthrough moment came in the 2019-2020 season when Gregor made his NHL debut for the San Jose Sharks. He showcased his ability to handle the pressure and pace of the NHL, contributing with goals and assists.
His performance in the NHL highlighted his potential as a dependable forward with the ability to impact the game in various ways. Despite limited opportunities in his rookie season, Gregor’s promise was evident, and he became a player to watch for the future.
Fast forward to the 23/24 NHL season, and Noah Gregor finds himself in a new chapter of his career as a member of the Toronto Maple Leafs. After going unsigned and becoming a free agent, Toronto gave Gregor one final opportunity in the form of a PTO. Most players on PTO’s will end up having mediocre preseasons which typically lead to players being left without a club for the start of the NHL season.
Gregor however chose to showcase his true ability and skillset essentially forcing his way onto the Leafs’ opening night roster. The Leafs decision to sign Gregor represents a strategic move that addresses some key areas of need and reinforces their commitment to building a well-rounded team.
One of Gregor’s primary strengths is his versatility. He has demonstrated his ability to play both center and wing positions effectively, providing the Leafs with flexibility in their lineup.
This versatility is invaluable in the NHL, where injuries and lineup adjustments are commonplace. Gregor’s adaptability allows the Leafs to deploy him in various situations, whether it’s as a top-six forward or in a depth role, making him a valuable asset in the lineup.
Furthermore, Gregor’s style of play aligns with the Leafs’ vision for the upcoming season. Toronto has been working diligently to improve their defensive play and team cohesion, and Gregor’s two-way ability fits perfectly into this strategy.
His commitment to strong defensive play, coupled with his offensive instincts, means that he can contribute in all areas of the ice. This will help the Leafs maintain offensive pressure while also bolstering their defensive stability, a crucial factor in their quest for success.
Another aspect that makes Gregor a smart addition to the Leafs is his age and potential for growth. At 25 years old, he is entering the prime years of his career. With several seasons of professional experience under his belt, he brings a level of maturity and understanding of the game that is well beyond his age.
The Leafs can expect him to continue developing and contributing at an even higher level in the coming seasons, making him an investment in the team’s future success.
Gregor’s work ethic and leadership qualities, which were evident in his junior career, continue to be assets that the Leafs can benefit from. His relentless commitment to improvement and his ability to lead by example in the locker room can inspire his teammates and foster a winning culture within the organization.
The signing of Noah Gregor by the Toronto Maple Leafs is a smart move by Brad Treliving that addresses several important aspects of the team’s needs.
His versatile skill set, two-way ability, and growth potential make him a valuable addition to the Leafs’ roster. Furthermore, his leadership and work ethic align with the team’s culture and aspirations for the future.
As the 23/24 NHL season approaches, fans and analysts will be watching closely to see how Noah Gregor integrates into the Leafs lineup and contributes to their pursuit of a Stanley Cup championship.
If his past performance and potential are any indication, he may well prove to be the missing cog of the machine that the Toronto Maple Leafs have been searching for.