Back in 2009, Tyler Bozak left the University of Denver as an undrafted free agent to sign with the Toronto Maple Leafs. Eight years later, Bozak is the longest tenured Maple Leaf on the 2017-18 roster but is entering a contract year.
Toronto Maple Leafs Roster Preview, 50 in 50: Tyler Bozak
The native of Regina often found himself centring a line between James van Riemsdyk and Mitch Marner. The trio had the most combined for the most points of any of the Leafs lines, with 178 points combined. Connor Brown, Nazem Kadri and Leo Komarov combined for 129, while Auston Matthews, Zach Hyman and William Nylander had 160 for those of you keeping count.
On top of these impressive numbers for the line as a whole, Bozak posted career highs in assists, with 37, and points, with 55. Not too shabby for the guy who could be called Toronto’s third line centre.
Bozak is also the Leafs’ best centre in the faceoff dot. His 56.7% winning percentage is good enough for fourth in the league among players who took at least 1300 draws last season. Head coach Mike Babcock loves his guys that can get it done when you need a crucial offensive or defensive zone draw.
Profile (via Elite Prospects):
Weight: 194 lbs
NHL Entry Draft: Undrafted, Signed by the Toronto Maple Leafs on April 3, 2009
Contract (via Cap Friendly):
Bozak enters the 2017-18 season in the last year of a five year contract he signed back in the summer of 2013. He carries a cap hit of $4.2 million, the average of his $21-million contract.
He will actually make $4 million this season, $2 million of which has already been paid in a July 1 signing bonus. The rest is simply base salary, as the 31-year old Bozak does not have any performance bonuses.
Tyler Bozak also has a modified no trade clause. He can submit a list of 12 teams to which he will accept a trade, an interesting detail as Bozak’s name has come up in some trade rumours this off-season.
Bozak enters the 2017-2018 season as a pending unrestricted free agent. It couldn’t be coming at a better time for the 31-year old centre, or perhaps a worse time for the Maple Leafs.
It is expected that Tyler Bozak will once again centre a line between van Riemsdyk and Marner. The line was dynamic offensively throughout the 2016-17 campaign but faltered defensively. With a year under Mitch Marner’s belt, Bozak could improve on his 55 point career year if he continues to play with these two wingers.
As a pending unrestricted free agent, Bozak could parlay a good year into a solid contract. Although the Leafs don’t have a set first, second, and third line, Bozak is often seen as a third line centre on this team behind Auston Matthews and Nazem Kadri.
Bozak’s contract demands next summer will likely be too rich for the Maple Leafs. In what could be his final year in Toronto, Bozak will once again be a big offensive part in what the Toronto Maple Leafs achieve, both in the regular season and the playoffs.
Main Photo: Embed from Getty Images