According to a team release, the Toronto Maple Leafs have re-signed restricted free agent goaltender Garret Sparks to a one-year, two-way deal. Cap Friendly tells us that the deal is worth just $575K (league minimum) at the NHL level. The 23-year old made his NHL debut last season, playing in 17 games for the last-place Leafs.
On Sunday, we looked at the backup goalie options for Toronto after Mike Babcock was quoted as saying that the team would bring in “a good pro” to play behind Frederik Andersen. This seemed to have removed Sparks from the equation, one he was possibly not ever in to begin with. After playing well in his time at the AHL level, Sparks struggled in his first taste of NHL action, posting a 3.02 GAA and .893 save percentage.
A former seventh-round pick, it’s surprising he’s even made it this far, and with most of his career still in front of him he’ll try to work his way back to the big club. Sparks will likely head back to the Toronto Marlies to split time again with fellow goalie prospect Antoine Bibeau, however the team did sign top NCAA netminder Kasimir Kaskisuo back in March.
The Maple Leafs now have five RFAs still to sign this summer, with three (Peter Holland, Frank Corrado, and Martin Marincin) headed to arbitration in a few weeks time. They also have still yet to come to terms with first overall pick Auston Matthews, though it seems like a formality at this point despite the rumblings that GM Lou Lamoriello is still trying to avoid any performance bonuses.
The team is currently less than $6MM under the salary cap, however have multiple contracts that will be placed on long-term injured reserve as soon as the season begins. Nathan Horton and Stephane Robidas will not suit up this season, while the status of Joffrey Lupul and Jared Cowen is still undetermined.