Breaking: Maple Leafs Closing In On Deal To Sign $8 Million Left Winger In Free-Agency

Breaking: Maple Leafs Closing In On Deal To Sign $8 Million Left Winger In Free-Agency

The Boston Bruins knocked the Toronto Maple Leafs out of the NHL Playoffs less than a month ago. Nonetheless, it appears that the two adversaries have already regrouped after the hard-fought series to discuss off-season plans. Both teams have agreed to make big changes this offseason in order to reach the Stanley Cup Final.

The Toronto Maple Leafs may be interested in pending free agency Jake DeBrusk and former Vezina Trophy winner Linus Ullmark, who still has one year on his contract.

These aren’t rumours so much as plain sense; of course, the Leafs will be interested in those players if they become available, as will every other NHL team.

While both DeBrusk and Ullmark are undoubtedly intriguing players, their potential acquisition comes with significant financial implications. The Leafs should consider this risk this off-season before taking big swings on players that will not help the defensive issues they had last season.

Toronoto Maple Leafs Need To Avoid Jake DeBrusk In Free Agency

There is no disputing that DeBrusk is an excellent player, and if any fanbase outside of the Bruins knows this, it should be Leafs Nation, as DeBrusk has 11 points in 11 games versus the blue and white this season. He also has 11 points in 13 playoff games for the Bruins before being defeated by the Panthers in the second round of the NHL playoffs.

While DeBrusk has stated that he would want to remain with the Boston Bruins, he has already completed his two-year $8,000,000 contract and is heading toward free agency without a contract extension, becoming an unrestricted free agent for the first time in his career.

Combine Debrusk’s recent postseason performances with his 2024 regular season success. Debrusk will be among the most sought-after free agents this offseason. Despite scoring only 40 points, Debrusk was among the top 13% of forwards in offensive wins above replacement (WAR).

People may wonder how a guy who only scored 40 points is eligible for a raise when he already earns $4,000,000 per year. So, the answer is bad luck. Last year, DeBrusk was among the worst 21 percent of forwards in terms of finishing and primary assists. At the same time, he was placed in the top 15% for shooting contributions, the top 20% for primary shot assists, and the top 10% for high-danger passes.

DeBrusk is also a physical presence, unafraid to get involved in the forecheck and throw his weight around. He also grades out as a slightly above-average defender and penalty killer.

This is everything a championship-caliber team would want on its roster, which is why the DeBrusk market will be competitive. However, a number of notable names in this year’s free-agent class may allow DeBrusk to slip under the radar.

Debrusk might be a better option than Max Domi or Tyler Bertuzzi, but he’s 27 and will sign a long, pricey contract. Is a seven-year, $6 million contract for this type of athlete the wisest use of resources? Probably not, thus the Leafs should seek elsewhere.

The Maple Leafs Need A Goalie, But Not Linus Ullmark

Again, there is no doubting that Ullmark is an excellent goaltender. But how good is he when not on the Bruins?

The Bruins have been historically great the last two seasons, and they’ve done so while playing a tandem in goal.

Ullmark is a statistical top-10 goaltender in the NHL, which is exactly what the Maple Leafs are searching for. Despite having a 2.52 goals-against average and a.915 save percentage across his nine-year NHL career and winning the Vezina Trophy in 2023, Ullmark isn’t on the same level as Sorokin, Vasilevskiy, or Hellebuyck.

Over three playoff runs with the Boston Bruins (10 starts), Ullmark has a 3.80 goals-against-average and a 0.880 save percentage.  Considering how random goalies can be in the NHL, taking a goalie whose been used in a tandem and who has bad playoff stats doesn’t seem like a sure thing at all.

These playoff struggles are enough for me to pause at the $5,000,00 price tag Ullmark carries. While the Leafs need for an elite goalie is urgent, Ullmark carries a ton of risk.

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