The 5 Best Toronto Maple Leafs Free Agent Signings in the Auston Matthews Era

Who were the Leafs most significant free agent signings that paid off in the past decade?
Toronto Maple Leafs v Edmonton Oilers
Toronto Maple Leafs v Edmonton Oilers / Codie McLachlan/GettyImages
1 of 5

Earlier, we had taken a look at the five worst free agent signings made by the Toronto Maple Leafs during their rise to prominence in the Auston Matthews era. Had those signings not been made, perhaps we could have seen some better results by the team, especially in the playoffs.

Nevertheless, the Toronto Maple Leafs did manage to make some good signings in the free agent market during the same time frame.

They may not have resulted in the Leafs having a lot greater success in the playoffs, but they sure played a significant part in leading the team to strong regular season records as a result.

With NHL free agency set to start soon, we will take a look back at the five best free agents that the Maple Leafs wisely recruited in the past decade that helped the team to some sustained success.

The 5 Best Toronto Maple Leafs Free Agent Signings in the Auston Matthews Era

Ron Hainsey

Coming off a Stanley Cup win with the Pittsburgh Penguins during the 2017 NHL playoffs, the Maple Leafs believed that Ron Hainsey could bring some of that winning pedigree and mentality to Toronto to help lead a young and inspiring squad.

The Leafs inked the veteran defenseman to a two-year, $6 million contract, who certainly turned out to be better than expected given his age as well.

Not only did Hainsey help stabilize the Leafs back end for two solid seasons, he became the trusted and reliable stay-at-home partner that paired perfectly with Morgan Rielly, despite playing on his off-side. By putting the two together, it unleashed Rielly’s offensive potential, leading to his career year in 2018-19 of 20 goals and 72 points.

As for Hainsey, he still managed to put up 9 goals, 37 assists for 46 points over his two seasons with the Leafs, which was not too shabby for someone whose main strength was his defense.