The 2016-2017 Toronto Maple Leafs were one of the most exciting hockey teams to watch in recent memory. Young, skillful players such as Mitch Marner, Auston Matthews and William Nylander provided Leaf fans with an exciting brand of hockey. On last year’s roster, goaltender Curtis McElhinney was the oldest player at 33 years old.
The young Leafs wowed fans all season long, but they lacked a true, grizzled veteran presence in the locker room. The Leafs free agent signings have addressed this need, as General Manager Lou Lamoriello has brought in veterans Dominic Moore, Ron Hainsey and Patrick Marleau.
Toronto Maple Leafs Free Agent Signings Add Veteran Presence
— TSN (@TSN_Sports) July 2, 2017
Tyler Bozak, the longest serving Leaf on the roster, was one of the “veterans” last season at just 31 years old. The Leafs free agent signings, Hainsey, Moore, and Marleau, will be 36, 37 and 38 respectively once the Leafs start the regular season in Winnipeg on October 4th.
Between the three of them, the Leafs are bringing in over 3000 games of NHL experience, over 1500 points, three NHL All-Star appearances, two Olympic Gold Medals, a Stanley Cup and a Masterton Trophy. That’s a lot of experience to add to the young Toronto roster.
Dominic Moore will most likely centre the fourth line alongside Matt Martin on the left wing and possibly Kasperi Kapanen on the right. Hainsey will be a depth defenceman who can play higher in the lineup, a good replacement for Matt Hunwick who was picked up by the Penguins on July 1. As for Marleau, it is likely he will play the left wing on a Marleau-Matthews-Nylander line. That would make for one of the most exciting and dynamic lines in the NHL, however, Matthews could very well be put on a line with Zach Hyman again for the majority of the season.
Marleau becomes the highest paid player on the Leafs with a cap hit of $6.25 million per year, and he will be 40 years old during the final season of his contract. The 37-year-old scored 27 goals for the Sharks last season and will be hoping to fight off Father Time as he enters what might be his final contract of his career.