The 25-year-old was the tenth-overall pick back in 2014 with Anaheim hoping he’d become an impact power forward but that didn’t really happen; while he brought plenty of physicality, his offensive production was hot and cold. That made him expendable and in 2020, Ritchie was flipped to Boston in exchange for Danton Heinen with the hopes that the Bruins could help unlock that offensive consistency.
To his credit, Ritchie did manage a career-high 15 goals last season despite the shortened schedule while chipping in with four points in 11 playoff contests but the Bruins opted to not tender him a $2MM qualifying offer earlier this week which made him an unrestricted free agent; Heinen suffered the same fate with Anaheim. Ritchie did pretty well on the open market, landing more than that offer would have been for from Toronto while getting a second year.
With the Maple Leafs, Ritchie should have an opportunity to compete for a spot in the top six with both Zach Hyman and Nick Foligno moving on in free agency. He’s someone that both head coach Sheldon Keefe and GM Kyle Dubas are somewhat familiar with from their days with OHL Sault Ste. Marie as Ritchie spent a partial season there to wrap up his major junior career.
This may very well be it for signings from the Maple Leafs; CapFriendly now has Toronto at roughly $1.4MM over the $81.5MM Upper Limit of the salary cap. However, that’s with a projected full 23-man roster and as we saw last season, they’re likely to carry closer to the minimum of 20 skaters. Even after removing some potentially AHL-bound players (pending waivers), they’ll still basically be in a spot where they will be just about at the cap ceiling so any other moves to add to their roster from here on out will require offsetting money.
Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman was the first to report the signing.