Toronto Maple Leafs: 1-Year Deals Heading Into 2022-23 (Part 1)

Toronto Maple Leafs: 1-Year Deals Heading Into 2022-23 (Part 1)

by July 26, 2022 0 comments

Another incredible regular season in Toronto. Another first-round playoff exit in Toronto. The Toronto Maple Leafs were eliminated in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs for the sixth-consecutive season. This time, their demise came at the hands of the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Heading into next season, Maple Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas stockpiled various low-risk, high-upside signings on one-year contracts. Who are these players, and what can Maple Leafs fans expect of them as we inch closer and closer to the start of the 2022-23 NHL campaign? Let’s read on and find out.

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Nicolas Aube-Kubel

Twenty-six-year-old Nicolas Aube-Kubel gets the ball rolling for us. Born and raised in Slave Lake, Alberta, “NAK”, as he is commonly referred to, adds some speed and tenacity to Toronto’s lineup. Currently, the Leafs do not have many players with a Stanley Cup pedigree. Aube-Kubel joins Jake Muzzin and newcomer Matt Murray as individuals who have hoisted hockey’s most prized possession. After winning the Stanley Cup with the Colorado Avalanche this past season, Aube-Kube signed a $1 million, one-year contract on day 1 of NHL Free Agency.

At 5-foot-11, 215 pounds, he should provide Toronto with a much-needed physical and “in your face” element. In addition, Aube-Kubel also fills a dire need for a team who wanted to get quicker and “grittier” in their bottom-six forward group. This is a sneaky little signing from Dubas and one that has certainly flown under the radar. It will not be long before Aube-Kubel fully endears himself to Leafs Nation.

Adam Gaudette

Up next on our list is Taunton, Massachusetts product Adam Gaudette. Although he has bounced around the past few seasons, Gaudette gets an excellent shot at securing Toronto’s fourth-line center vacancy. At the tender age of 25, Gaudette’s hockey journey includes stops in Vancouver, Chicago, and Ottawa. However, after signing a one-year deal with a $750,000 cap hit, Gaudette gets the (rare) opportunity for a fresh start in the hockey-crazed city of Toronto. 

Although the Leafs have infamously “ran it back” as a club thus far heading into next season, Gaudette adds speed, physical play, size, and forechecking ability. At 6-foot-1, 170 pounds, this is a high-energy player who should complement the likes of Toronto’s skilled forward group, which includes: William Nylander, John Tavares, Mitch Marner, and Auston Matthews. Gaudette is worth a “flier” and fits what the Maple Leafs are trying to accomplish in their bottom-six forward core. We will have to see how it all plays out come October.

Jordie Benn

Rounding out our list is veteran defenseman Jordie Benn. Now at 35 years of age, Benn is more of a journeyman, but one in which the Leafs were more than willing to add to the mix with hopes of rounding out their blue-line. With just under 600 NHL games to his credit (595 to be exact), the Victoria, British Columbia native brings grit, sandpaper, and veteran-laden experience to Toronto’s defense core.

With the uncertainty surrounding talented restricted free-agent defenseman Rasmus Sandin, who has yet to agree to terms on a contract, Benn was also brought in to add some much-needed depth in Toronto. In addition, he will also serve as a mentor and steadying presence for the likes of Timothy Liljegren and Sandin, assuming he signs on the dotted line before the start of the season. This move makes a lot of sense for the Leafs and should undoubtedly pay dividends. Do not be surprised to see Benn log several key minutes, especially on the penalty kill this season. This is a player that Toronto’s brass will rely on as the “dog days” of the NHL schedule begin to take a toll on a team with Stanley Cup aspirations.

Stay tuned for the second part of our installment, which pinpoints three other players playing on a one-year deal in Toronto in 2022-23.

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Main Image Credit: Embed from Getty Images

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