In yesterday’s edition of Toronto Maple Leafs News and Rumors, I looked at what internal unrestricted agents (UFAs) the organization might be expecting. Today, I’d like to take a look at three potential UFA goals the team might choose to pursue. Among those three are quarterbacks Blake Coleman, Toronto winger Barkley Goudreau of Tampa Bay Lightning and Michael Banting, a little-known forward who has played only 26 games for the Arizona Coyotes.
For giving the credit where it deserves, I have to thank a THW reader and awesome Maple Leafs fan who goes by the handle of BossSause. He invited me down the rabbit trail of looking at both Coleman and Goudreau when he sent me the following note.
BossSause noticed that “Coleman scored two of his most incredible goals last season before making the move from New Jersey to Tampa at the deadline. In fact, Goudreau, who also plays for Tampa, will also be a free agent and will likely accept a title-friendly contract.”
Bossos also added that “Tampa should cut its salaries because (Nikita) Kucherov will count in the capital totals next season. Boy, Dubas will kick him out of the park if he can land these two guys. They are very hardworking players, and they both have championship experience.”
I was put on Bunting when I read a June 6 article from LeafsNation Their cadre of writers was asked, “What change would you like to see happen in the off-season?” There John Steitzer mentioned Scarborough’s Michael Banting as a target he would have gone after if he were the general manager of Maple Leafs.
Related: The 5 best goalkeepers of the 1960s
As I have often pointed out, one of the good things about covering Maple Leafs is that the team has great fans cheering the team and many good writers covering the team. Oftentimes, something someone writes about sends me on an interesting little research adventure. This was especially true for today’s post.
Player #1: Blake Coleman
Blake Coleman was selected during the third round (75The tenth overall) from the 2011 NHL Entry Draft by the New Jersey Devils. He’s only 5’11, but he’s a strong 200-pound player and plays with advantage. Similar to Zach Hyman, he fights for and wins the puck during snowboard competitions along the boards.
Coleman wasn’t among the Lightning’s top six over the past two seasons, but he was the top scorer with 20 goals during the 2018-19 and 2019-20 seasons with the New Jersey Devils before Lightning picked him up at the trade deadline in 2020. He could provide a byproduct At what level and maybe more if he plays higher in the squad. I think his attacking stats were shaped by his spread across the two teams he played in.
Where Coleman is really good at is short-handed play. He’s a good shot-stopper and has scored 13 short-range points throughout his career.
It is difficult to determine the cost of signing a contract with Coleman. Currently, he earns $1.8 million a season and has for the past three seasons. Speculation is that he will seek about $2.5 million in this next decade. Who knows how that might change in the age of COVID.
Coleman also brings the great playoff experience he gained by playing with Lightning. Assuming Zack Hyman signs with the team, Coleman might seem redundant. However, Hyman is one of those players where having two of them would be better than having just one. It’s that flexible.
As my sources suggest, Coleman loves to play physical hockey throughout the regular season and during the playoffs. He is also willing to sacrifice and pay the price to win games. These characteristics are something any NHL team needs if they are to thrive during the Stanley Cup playoffs.
Player 2: Barkley Goudreau
Barkley Goudreau is a 28-year-old Toronto native who started his NHL career with the San Jose Sharks in 2014 and played six seasons there before also moving to Lightning at the 2019 trade deadline. He’s not as talented or skilled as Coleman, but he is. Like Coleman is ready to play physical hockey – to hit and hit.
At 6 feet 215 pounds, he makes good use of his size. He’s also a blocker and can become a powerful player in physical depth in the Maple Leafs roster. Currently, Goodrow’s is on an expired contract worth $925,000 and is likely to be signed in Toronto for not much more than that.
Player #3: Michael Banting
Michael Banting was a surprise. He had a half season with Coyotes scoring 10 goals in 21 games after being called up to Arizona from the team’s Tucson team midway through the 2020-21 season. Perhaps the most interesting thing about him in my view is that he played for the Soo Greyhounds during the 2013-14 and 2014-15 seasons when Kyle Dupas was the general manager and Sheldon Cave was the coach there.
Like Coleman and Gudrow, the 25-year-old Toronto (Scarborough) native will likely work hard to earn more ice time in the NHL given his history of kicking in the minors. Banners were drafted by wolves during the fourth round (117 .).The tenth overall) from the 2014 NHL Entry Draft.
During Bunting’s breakout season (half A), he scored 10 goals and three assists (for 13 points) in 21 games he played. Ponting just exited a $737,500 contract which is UFA. Given his connections to Toronto and with Keefe and Dupas, I can’t understand why the organization doesn’t at least see if he’s interested in signing with the Maple Leafs.
Similar to other teams, the Maple Leafs need players who can add minor points to the top six. It might be another flyer that Dubas would love to take the opportunity to sign, especially because – despite the small sample size – Ponting put the disk into the net so efficiently. There is a chance that he will fight hard to stay on the ice in front of friends and family at home in Toronto.
What’s next for maple leaves?
What fans don’t know yet is how many teams the team wants in the current UFA. The organization already includes a number of young prospects – the first to come to mind is Joey Anderson – who might benefit from an experience at the big club. Adam Brooks has shown that he can score in the NHL. It would also be nice to give these two people and the others more opportunity to form the team.
How the organization will operate to fill the depth of the team given the huge portion of the maximum salary allotment is a question going forward. Can the team move one of the Big Four? Is Fredrik Andersen gone? How much does Hayman cost?
These are all questions that must be answered within the next two months. I look forward to those answers.
The old professor (Jim Parsons, Sr.) has taught for over 40 years at the University of Alberta’s College of Education. He is a Canadian boy with two degrees from the University of Kentucky and a Ph.D. from the University of Texas. He is now retired on Vancouver Island, where he lives with his family. His hobbies include playing his hockey cards and simply being a fan of sports – hockey, Toronto Raptors and CFL football (Ricky Ray thinks it embodies how a professional athlete should act).
If you’re wondering why he didn’t use his real name, it’s because his son – who is also Jim Parsons – wrote about it hockey book First, he asked Jim Sr. to use another name so readers wouldn’t confuse their work.
Because Jim Sr. was working in China, he adopted the Mandarin word for teacher (老師). The first letter lǎo (老) means “old”, and the second letter shī (師) means “teacher”. Lushi’s literal translation is “ancient teacher”. That became his nickname. Today, other than writing for hockey bookHe teaches graduate student research design at several Canadian universities.
He looks forward to sharing his thoughts on the Toronto Maple Leafs and on how to fully bring sports into life. His Twitter address is https://twitter.com/TheOldProf