For starters, Auston Matthews won the Calder Trophy as the NHL’s rookie of the year. To put this in perspective, he was the first Maple Leaf in 51 years to win that trophy. There is no doubt in my mind he was deserving of the honour. This season, he finished tied for the second most goals in the league with 40, and was the first rookie to score 40 goals in a season since Alexander Ovechkin. When you factor in the idea his linemates, Zach Hyman and William Nylander, had limited experience in the NHL it's an impressive feat.
Next, the Maple Leafs were very active on July 1st, signing veteran forward Dominic Moore and veteran defenceman Ron Hainsey. Both bring extra experience to the team and fill the roles of a couple of players the Leafs lost in free agency.
First of all, Dominic Moore has played for the Leafs already, so he knows how to handle the pressure of the tough Toronto market. Personally, I am happy the Leafs have given him a chance to return to Toronto. During one of the Leafs’ bad seasons, in 2008-2009, he set a career high for points, with 41. He can still chip in some offence, last season he produced 11 goals and 25 points with the Boston Bruins. He can also be counted on to win face-offs. This past season, he won 54.6 per cent of the face-offs he took. With all he brings, it is a surprise the Leafs were able to sign him to a contract for only a $1 million cap hit. Ron Hainsey brings his experience, from winning the Stanley Cup this past season, to the Leafs’ locker room. In Hainsey, the Leafs get a player who can block shots, help kill penalties, and, as mentioned earlier, brings experience to the locker room. The signing plugs the hole in the depth chart, left when Matt Hunwick signed in Pittsburgh.
Now, on July 2nd, the Maple Leafs made a large splash by signing, former San Jose Sharks winger, Patrick Marleau. Marleau has been a top pairing winger with the Sharks for many years, and has been a staple of their roster since the 1997-1998 season. Last season, he had 27 goals and 19 assists. Like the other signings, Marleau brings experience, and he played in the Stanley Cup final with the Sharks in 2016. He also adds extra depth in the forward position, if the team is looking to flip James van Riemsdyk for a top pairing defenceman.
With everything that has been happening of late, I am looking forward to the next NHL season.