Toronto Maple Leafs 2024 Free Agency Targets Miss The Mark, So Far

The Toronto Maple Leafs and GM Brad Treliving have been very active in the early days of free agency,
Edmonton Oilers v Dallas Stars - Game Two
Edmonton Oilers v Dallas Stars - Game Two / Matthew Stockman/GettyImages
3 of 6

Oliver Ekman-Larsson, LHD

Contract: Four-years, $3.5 million AAV

At one point, OEL was one of the games premier puckmovers, a consistent 15-20 goal and 40-50 point player.

Now, he is a solid depth defender who played quite well in a third-pair sheltered role with significant powerplay time on the Cup winning Florida Panthers. 

Apparently, Treliving and Co. liked what they saw and decided to lock him up on a long-term contract.

It is unclear why OEL was given as much term (four years) and a not-insignificant caphit at $3.5 million.

In Toronto, he will likely play a second or third pair role with limited powerplay time, likely fighting Timothy Liljegren for secondary PP minutes.

His puckmoving ability is welcomed of course but the Leafs could have gotten a player like Erik Gustafsson or Shayne Gostisbehere who signed for two years at $2 million AAV and three years $3.2 million AAV instead. 

Ekman-Larsson will be 33 by the start of next season and as history has shown, betting on a player longterm who is already well into his thirties and on the decline is not the smartest investment.