2023-08-28 · 3 min read · NHL/Hockey
Tyler Bertuzzi and John Klingberg

Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports | Derek Leung/Getty Images

Ryan Reaves
3 year 1.35 Million per
  • Ryan Reaves adds size and sandpaper to the Maple Leafs. Can chip a little offence and is a feared enforcer. The price is a bit high for this type of player (especially given his age); but he fills a need for the Leafs. Despite being primarily not for his grit and physicality Reaves is also a solid in front of the net presence with ok hands but counting on him to provide significant offence especially at this point in his career would be foolish. What I don't like is the term, giving a 36-year-old grinder a contract that will take him to age 40 is a risk. One exacerbated by the 1.35 million per; a number I would much prefer around or even below 1 mil. I think that money could have been better spent elsewhere in the lineup. Overall not exactly a deal to write home about, but one that will likely benefit the bottom of the Leafs lineup and its locker room.
Grade C+
Max Domi
1 year 3 Million
  • Max Domi is a high risk high reward signing but overall seems worth the gamble. After having a breakout season with Montreal in 2018-19 with 72 points, Domi has struggled with consistency. Last season though was easily his best since, putting up 56 points between Chicago and Dallas; playing a solid role for the Stars in their playoff run. Domi is a high-quality Alexander Kerfoot replacement, in the sense he can provide offensive punch and play a variety of spots in the lineup. A notable difference though is Domi’s willingness to battle in the dirty areas and forecheck aggressively. Domi may not be a big hitter but he has a grinders attitude and carries a higher upside than Kerfoot in most respects. The only concern here is can Domi find a place in Toronto or will he struggle to find chemistry and consistency in previous years? If Domi can fit in and generate secondary scoring like he did last season, plus serving as a major nuisance for the opposition, this could be a great signing.
Grade B
Tyler Bertuzzi
1 year 5 Million
  • Bertuzzi is easily my favourite deal of the bunch, as he adds much needed scoring and physicality to the top six. The Leafs were particularly in need of a guy capable of playing at a high level on the left side and keeping up with Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner. Bertuzzi fits that bill perfectly, he is almost like an upgraded version of Bunting. He has soft mitts and seems to be continuing to develop his offensive game. Bertuzzi can also be physical and act as a pest like Bunting, but without crossing the line and while providing more scoring. Bertuzzi has struggled with injuries at times, even most of the 2022-23 season. However, he found his game when he was shipped to the Boston Bruins, recording 16 points in 21 games. Bertuzzi’s skills as an agitator and ability to play with or without the puck, should complement the skills that Matthews and Marner have. He brings a different element but one that can propel this line to be even more dangerous than their already elite status.
Grade A
John Klingberg
1 year 4 Million
  • Klingberg certainly has upside as a puck moving defenseman and power play quarterback. However, the Swede has clear defensive limitations and got more money than I think he's worth. Simply, Klingberg was brought in to be another strong puck-moving option on the backend and to QB the 2nd power play. Additionally, he can alleviate some of the pressure off or temporarily fill in for Morgan Rielly. He’s there for his transitional game, which was an issue for the Maple Leafs last season. Klingberg had 10 goals last season between the Anaheim Ducks and Wild, which would’ve been first on the Maple Leafs last season. Given the Maple Leafs are an offensive based team with strong transitional play, this might work out well given Klingberg’s passing and ability to join the rush. He needs to show more consistency within his own zone or he will have to be hidden at times on defence. This is easily the riskiest signing and while there is significant upside I think the Leafs would have been better disturbing this money elsewhere.
Grade C-
Overall grade - B
In conclusion new Maple Leafs GM Brad Treliving is seemingly off to a good but not great start with free agents, yet only time will tell us for sure.
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By: Chase Howard


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