Thus far, the Toronto Maple Leafs began free agency with four signings. Perhaps only one of them seems to be a “key” signing right now, but who knows when the regular season begins how things will work out?
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Signing One: Adam Gaudette Signs at the NHL League Minimum
Adam Gaudette signed a one-year, $750,000 contract, the Maple Leafs announced earlier today. When the Ottawa Senators failed to make Gaudette a qualifying offer, he became an unrestricted free agent.
The Maple Leafs swooped in. Gaudette scored five goals and added nine assists (for 14 points) in 58 games last season. However, he did have a really strong season in 2019-20 with the Vancouver Canucks. In 59 games, he scored 33 points (on 12 goals and 21 assists).
Signing Two: Nicolas Aube-Kubel Signs for One Year at $1 Million
Nicolas Aube-Kubel today signed a one-year, $1 million contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs. Similar to Gaudette, Aube-Kubel didn’t receive a qualifying offer from the Colorado Avalanche. That made him a free agent and, again, the Maple Leafs jumped in to sign him.
Aube-Kubel scored 11 goals and added 12 assists (for 23 points) in 74 games last season split between the Philadelphia Flyers and the Avalanche. He’s best known among casual hockey fans as the young fellow who dropped the Stanley Cup just before the Avalance players were to line up for their team photo after being victorious in Tampa Bay.
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Signing Three: Ilya Samsonov Picked Up After Capitals Don’t Qualify Him
Washington Capitals knew they were going to sign Darcy Kuemper, which allowed them to make Ilya Samsonov a UFA. He was not tendered a qualifying offer; and, similar to Gaudette and Aube-Kubel, was signed by the Maple Leafs.
His one-year contract calls for him to be paid $1.8 million. Last season, Samsonov put together a 23-12-5 record, with a goals-against-average of 3.02, and a save percentage of .896 in 44 games. If he can show some of the great potential he was projected to have when he entered the NHL as a young prospect, the Maple Leafs’ goaltending just got tons better.
He’s projected to be the Maple Leafs’ backup goalie behind newly-signed Matt Murray. However, it might be more likely that he’ll fight for the starting role in a more goalie tandem-like situation.
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Signing Four: Maple Leafs Sign Draftee Dennis Hildby to 3-Year ELC
The Maple Leafs early today signed young Swedish goalie Dennis Hildeby to a three-year, entry-level contract. He was the 122nd overall pick in the 2022 NHL Entry Draft.
Last season, playing in only seven Swedish Hockey League games (a small sample size) Hildeby had a goals-against-average of 1.93 and a save percentage of .930. In his 18 games in the Swedish Junior League, he posted a goals-against-average of 3.10, and a save percentage of .911.