Next season the Toronto Maple Leafs will rely on multiple undrafted players to play big minutes in the NHL, most being European Free Agents. Pending a new contract, Ilya Mikheyev will be on the welcoming committee for new joiners Alexander Barabanov and Mikko Lehtonen. Calle Rosen may provide cheap depth on the blue line as well.
It seems that every year the Leafs are interested in a new “free wallet” player, and why not, there is virtually no downside. At this point though the league is catching on, and there is more competition for every player. I wanted to see what the net benefit of signing these free agents has been, why the strategy has garnered so much attention.
Instead of just listing off the most successful European FA signings, I decided to put together a lineup. It’s a mix of players who provided the most single-season utility, and players who found consistent success in their roles. In one form or another all of these players were playing in European leagues, free to be had for any NHL team that could negotiate a deal with them.
Panarin – Dadonov – Zuccarello
The first line of the …
Author: Earl Schwartz / The Leafs Nation