3 Buy-Low Free Agency Options For the Toronto Maple Leafs

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Kevin Labanc

Projection: One-year, $893,000 AAV

Labanc at one point was amongst the new wave of Sharks players that was looked upon to keep their cup contending window wedged open.

Unfortunately, things have not worked out well for either party and Labanc will likely hit the open market for a fresh start.

The forward has not come close to matching a career best 2018-19 season that saw him reach 17 goals and 56 points in 82 games.

This is due to a combination of factors like a brutal shoulder injury a couple seasons ago as well as the Sharks team bottoming out. However, he was able to hit a promising 15 goals and 33 points in 72 games last season before only scoring two goals and nine points in 46 this year that saw him healthy scratched for long stretches.

Labanc has consistently been a fairly good driver of offence and suppressor on defence at even strength.

His sound two-way play could make him an intriguing option on a low-AAV deal for the Leafs’ middle/bottom-six. He has historically been used sparingly on special teams aside from 2018-19 where 20 of his 56 points came on the powerplay. 

 However in 2022-23, only two of his 33 points were on the man advantage meaning that most of his offence came from playing at even strength where he was playing well under 15 minutes a night. So, he has shown he is capable of producing in that role before and could provide excess value on a cheap deal.