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Leafs get Mrazek, Bunting in free agency, stock Marlies on Day 1

July 29, 2021, 4:01 PM ET [342 Comments]
Mike Augello
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The Toronto Maple Leafs fulfilled their top need on the opening day of free agency, but are looking more to the secondary market to fill other roster holes. After losing wingers Zach Hyman, Nick Foligno, defenseman Zach Bogosian and goalies Frederik Andersen and David Rittich to other clubs on Wednesday, the Leafs added goalie Petr Mrazek, winger Michael Bunting and center David Kampf.

The Leafs and Carolina Hurricanes essentially exchanged goalies, swapping Andersen (who signed a two-year, $9 million deal with the Canes) for Mrazek, who agreed to a three-year, $11.4 million deal ($3.8 million AAV).

“We just wanted someone with a good long track record of being a very good goaltender in the league. From that point on, it was trying to find the best value for us, which we feel we did with Petr Mrazek today.” Dubas said in a media availability on Wednesday. “He has been a very good tandem partner in Carolina for the last number of years. We like his competitiveness. We like the fact that behind the scenes, everything else about him checks out as being very, very strong.”

Toronto went bargain hunting to replace different aspects lost with the departure of Hyman. On the wing, Dubas saw value in the 25-year-old former Soo Greyhound Bunting, who scored 10 goals in 21 games with Arizona last season and signed a two-year deal at a $950,000 AAV.

“I have watched him grow and develop in (AHL) Tucson and with Arizona in the subsequent years since he turned pro. The things we like about him are how hard he plays and how tenacious he is getting to and scoring at the net front — he is starting to show that this year at the NHL level.” Dubas said. “We know the way that he is going to play every single day. He is going to leave everything he has out on the ice. He has the ability to play with good players, as he showed in Arizona, and contribute and score in and around the net, which I think is important for our group all throughout.”

In former Blackhawk David Kampf, Toronto saw a center who is an excellent penalty killer and faceoff specialist and in Kurtis Gabriel, the Leafs saw an aggressive ball of energy who compiled 55 penalty minutes in 11 games with San Jose,

“We just think (David) opens up so many options for the top end of our group because of the types of minutes that he can eat up and be very productive in — not just be hemmed in, sit in the middle of the ice, and try to park the bus, so to speak. He is able to drive the play up the rink despite very difficult usage and also be very good for the penalty kill.” Dubas said. “I just really like everything that Kurtis is about, frankly. We know what we are going to get from him in terms of his effort level, his passion every single day, and his work rate on the ice — on the forecheck, the physicality part of it.”

The rest of the signings appeared to be restocking the shelves of the AHL Toronto Marlies. 25-year-old Mike Amadio has 173 games NHL experience with Los Angeles and Ottawa, 33-year-old Alex Biega played parts of seven seasons with Vancouver and Detroit, forward Brett Seney scored 44 points with Binghamton in 2019-20, while Carl Dahlstrom played for Chicago and Winnipeg before being dealt to Vegas for Paul Stastny.

Toronto also swapped a conditional seventh round pick in 2022 to Minnesota for the rights to defenseman Brennan Menell. The 24-year-old spent three seasons with Minnesota’s AHL affiliate in Iowa before playing last season with Dynamo Minsk in the KHL and finished second among KHL defensemen with 38 points (5 goals, 33 assists) in 47 games,


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