The first reported UFA signing with the market now open is one that many saw coming. The Toronto Maple Leafs have brought in Ontario native Wayne Simmonds on a one-year deal, reports TSN’s Pierre LeBrun. It is a $1.5MM AAV and a full No-Movement Clause for the veteran power forward.
Simmonds was expected to draw interest from a number of teams on the free agent market. In fact, the Montreal Canadiens are known to have been in the mix as well and reportedly offered Simmonds slightly more than what he received from Toronto. However, the draw of playing in his hometown for a legitimate contender was too much for Simmonds to pass up.
At 32 years old and in steep offensive decline, the Maple Leafs are not getting the 50-60 point Simmonds of yesteryear. However, the 6’2″ forward can still bring some offensive touch combined with a strong defensive game. Simmonds physical presence will be especially valuable to a Toronto team in need of more snarl. His experience and leadership is also invaluable for a team hoping to finally make a deep playoff run.