Maple Leafs add Ritchie, could fill vacancy on top line

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After the NHL Draft, free agency and other offseason moves, NHL.com is examining where each team stands in preparation for the 2021-22 regular season, which starts Oct. 12. Today, the Toronto Maple Leafs:

2020-21 season: 35-14-7, first in Scotia North Division; lost in first round of Stanley Cup Playoffs

Key arrivals

Petr Mrazek, G: The 29-year-old signed a three-year contract July 28 after being limited to 12 games with the Carolina Hurricanes last season because of injuries. He was 6-2-3 with a 2.06 goals-against average, a .923 save percentage and three shutouts in the regular season, and 1-1 with a 3.90 GAA and an .873 save percentage in two Stanley Cup Playoff starts. … Nick Ritchie, F: The 25-year-old signed a two-year contract July 31. He scored 26 points (15 goals, 11 assists) in 56 regular-season games with the Boston Bruins last season and four points (one goal, three assists) in 11 playoff games. Ritchie should help replace the grit of Zach Hyman. … David Kampf, F: The 26-year-old signed a two-year contract July 28 after scoring 12 points (one goal, 11 assists) in 56 games with the Chicago Blackhawks last season. … Ondrej Kase, F: The 25-year-old signed a one-year contract July 30 after being limited to three games with the Bruins last season because of an upper-body injury. He has scored 97 points (43 goals, 54 assists) in 207 NHL games … Michael Bunting, F: The 25-year-old signed a two-year contract July 28 after scoring 13 points (10 goals, three assists) in 21 games for the Arizona Coyotes last season.

 

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Key departures

Frederik Andersen, G: He agreed to a two-year contract with the Hurricanes on July 28. Andersen was limited to 24 games (23 starts) because of a lower-body injury last season, when he was 13-8-3 with a 2.96 GAA and an .895 save percentage. … Zach Hyman, F: He signed a seven-year contract with the Edmonton Oilers on July 28 after scoring 33 points (15 goals, 18 assists) in 43 regular-season games, and one goal in seven playoff games last season. … Joe Thornton, F: He signed a one-year contract with the Florida Panthers on Aug. 13. Thornton is entering his 24th NHL season after scoring 20 points (five goals, 15 assists) in 44 regular-season games and one goal in seven playoff games last season. … Zach Bogosian, D: He signed a three-year contract July 28 with the Tampa Bay Lightning, the team he won the Stanley Cup with in 2020, after having four assists in 45 regular-season games and one assist in seven playoff games last season. … Nick Foligno, F: He signed a two-year contract with the Bruins on July 28 after scoring 20 points (seven goals, 13 assists) in 49 regular-season games with the Columbus Blue Jackets and Maple Leafs last season. Foligno had one assist in four playoff games. … Alex Galchenyuk, F: He’s an unrestricted free agent after scoring 13 points (five goals, eight assists) in 34 regular-season games for the Ottawa Senators and Maple Leafs last season. He scored four points (one goal, three assists) in six playoff games. … David Rittich, G: He signed a one-year contract with the Nashville Predators on July 28 after going 5-8-2 with a 2.86 GAA, a .901 save percentage and one shutout in 19 games (15 starts) with the Calgary Flames and Maple Leafs last season. … Dave Hakstol, assistant coach: He was hired as coach of the expansion Seattle Kraken on June 24. 

On the cusp

Nicholas Robertson, F: The 19-year-old will have an opportunity to earn a top-nine role after he had one assist in six NHL games and scored 16 points (five goals, 11 assists) in 21 games with the Toronto Marlies of the American Hockey League last season. … Rasmus Sandin, D: Bogosian’s departure should mean a regular role for the 21-year-old, who had four assists in nine regular-season games with the Maple Leafs and scored one goal in five playoff games last season. He should see time at the point on the power play as well.

What they still need

Forward depth after the departures of Hyman, Thornton, Foligno and Galchenyuk. Who will join Auston Matthews, Mitchell Marner, John Tavares and William Nylander in the top six? Toronto is top-heavy up front and needs to have some of its supporting cast supply secondary scoring. 

They said it

“It is goaltending, so it is a hugely important position for everybody. We were fortunate going in that we already have Jack Campbell, who we feel very strongly about. We just felt that we needed to find a strong partner for him so that we can have as good of a tandem as possible. We felt we achieved that with Petr Mrazek.” — general manager Kyle Dubas

Fantasy focus

Mrazek’s strong peripherals make him a fringe-top 10 goalie in fantasy, with the caveat that he’ll be in a timeshare with Campbell. Still, Mrazek’s body of work in three seasons with the Hurricanes (50-32-8; 2.48 GAA, .911 save percentage; 10 shutouts) is enough to draft him in middle rounds, and he’ll have plenty of goal support from the Maple Leafs to give him a high wins ceiling. — Rob Reese

Projected lineup

Nick Ritchie — Auston Matthews — Mitchell Marner

Alexander Kerfoot — John Tavares — William Nylander

Michael Bunting — David Kampf — Ilya Mikheyev

Wayne SimmondsJason Spezza — Nicholas Robertson

Morgan RiellyTJ Brodie

Jake MuzzinJustin Holl

Rasmus Sandin — Travis Dermott

Jack Campbell

Petr Mrazek

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