Checking in on Former Toronto Maple Leafs Around the NHL

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Michael Bunting

Michael Bunting left the Leafs as a UFA in the summer.

I think his asking price was too high for the Leafs, and both sides decided to part ways.

Bunting signed a three-year deal with the Carolina Hurricanes for $4.5 million a season. The Leafs could have made a deal in that price range work, but Treliving wanted to sign other players like Tyler Bertuzzi instead.

The Leafs were well rewarded for the production Bunting offered at under $1 million. He registered 46 goals and 66 assists for 112 points in 161 games during two seasons with the Leafs. Those numbers are much better than they look because Bunting's production was mostly at 5v5 and he never played on the top power-play unit.

He was a fan favorite for many reasons, but he developed a reputation with NHL refs that resulted in him getting a lot of penalties. That could be another reason why he didn't get re-signed.

Bunting has 13 goals and 22 assists for 35 points in 57 games for the Hurricanes this season.

He is on pace for 49 points, which would match his production from last season. The Hurricanes have him until the end of the 2025-26 season, so we'll see if he can achieve great things with them or become another ex-Leaf who tried to find success elsewhere and failed.

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Time will tell, and who knows, maybe he will return to his hometown team later in his career for one last run.