After finishing 27th overall in 2014-15, the Toronto Maple Leafs slipped into the league basement this season, finishing with 69 points, a one-point improvement over the prior campaign.
The Buds were able to hold onto to the first overall selection in the draft lottery and used it on some kid from Scottsdale named Auston Matthews. The 18-year-old Matthews scored 24 goals in 36 games for ZSC Lions in Switzerland's National League A. In addition to Matthews, Toronto chose ten other prospects in Buffalo.
Prior to the draft, the club acquired RFA goaltender Frederik Andersen from the Anaheim Ducks for two draft picks and signed him to a five-year deal. The Maple Leafs are expecting Andersen to seize the number one job and make the bulk of starts.
For a team that has achieved so little the last few seasons, the Leafs are pretty tight against the salary cap, but they did manage to add a couple of veterans in winger Matt Martin and defenseman Roman Polak in July. Toronto traded the Polak to San Jose back in February, but after making a Stanley Cup run with the Sharks, the 30-year-old decided to return to the Leafs.
Although they have some nice young pieces in place, the Maple Leafs are probably a year or two away from being in the playoff picture. They should improve this season, a .500 finish would be a good goal, but not enough to threaten division-mates like the Florida Panthers or Tampa Bay Lightning.
Matt Martin signs four-year, $10M contract
Nikita Zaitsev signs one-year, $925K contract
Roman Polak signs one-year, $2.25M contract
Trevor Moore signs entry-level contract
Maple Leafs' Free Agents
Group 2 FAs:
Connor Carrick (re-signed), Frank Corrado (re-signed), Peter Holland (re-signed), Josh Leivo (re-signed), Martin Marincin, Garret Sparks (re-signed).
Group 3 UFAs:
Mark Arcobello (signed: SC Bern), Brad Boyes, T.J Brennan (signed: PHI), Rich Clune, Michael Grabner (signed: NYR), Juraj Mikus, Marcel Mueller, Pierre-Alexandre Parenteau (signed: NYI), Ben Smith, Alex Stalock (signed: MIN), Raffi Torres.
Group 6 UFAs: None.
Sam Carrick (signed: CHI), Stuart Percy (signed: PIT), Colin Smith
2016 Draft Class
Round 1 (1) F Auston Matthews (Zurich SC)
Round 2 (31) F Yegor Korshkov (Yaroslavl Lokomotiv)
Round 2 (57) F Carl Grundstrom (MODO Hockey Ornskoldsvik)
Round 3 (62) G Joseph Woll (USNTDP)
Round 3 (72) D J.D. Greenway (USNTDP)
Round 4 (92) F Adam Brooks (Regina Pats)
Round 4 (101) D Keaton Middleton (Saginaw Spirit)
Round 5 (122) F Vladimir Bobylev (Victoria Royals)
Round 6 (152) D Jack Walker (Victoria Royals)
Round 6 (179) D Nicolas Mattinen (London Knights)
Round 7 (182) F Nikolai Chebykin (MVD Jrs)
Salary Cap Space: $1,305,916 (courtesy of General Fanager)