The Toronto Maple Leafs' first free agent signing of the day was Colton Orr who received a four year contract worth $4 million. Colton Orr signing with the Leafs signalled, just as much as Burke's draft day haul, that he was dead serious about making the opposition's trainer earn his paycheque. Burke started the day off by having his main target, the Sedin twins, signed minutes before he was able to give them his best sales pitch.
The Leafs responded by bringing in a player that had 18 fights in the NHL last season and had 36 in a regular season one year in the AHL. Burke can't beat players up on his own so he needs a proxy and Orr's not bad. The Detroit Red Wings were actually in the running for Orr as well so take that for what it's worth. I don't know that he's a great enforcer league-wide but he is a massive upgrade in the role of enforcer for the Leafs. He's certainly not providing the offence with just eleven career points.
If you're a visual person you can see the full Colton Orr collection on YouTube or you can visit Down Goes Brown who has forced himself to watch the fights in order to compile four of the best. It's a testament to his dedication that he would watch these fights.
|2008 - Colton Orr||82||1||4||5||-15||193||0||0||0||0||40||2.5|
It's hard to ever get consensus on a signing especially when the player doesn't necessarily bring a tangible skill beyond punching people's faces in. At the very least, Colton Orr had a winning record last year in his truculent travails with 12 wins, 4 losses, and 2 ties. I think that we all remember how the other team's big hitters (and even some middle and lightweight hitters) would tee up on the Leafs. Or recall that the reason for Grabovski's outbursts were because freaking Saku Koivu and the Kostitsyns were alternately taking runs at him.
Let's take a look at what SBN's own Jim Schmiedeberg of Blueshirt Banter has to say about Colton Orr:
When Colton Orr came over from Boston, he was little more than a slab of meat on skates, and I was often reminded of what John Davidson used to say about Craig Berube early in his career, "this guy has zero hockey skills". But to Orr's credit, instead of relishing that role, he worked on his faults, improved his skating ability, and in Tom Renney's system became a serviceable checking forward, capable of creating a spark with his physical play, or when all else failed, dropping the gloves. Any true offense you see from Orr will be purely accidental, but he is a hard working guy, and Toronto fans will enjoy watching him play for the next four years.
Compared to some other players in similar roles I'd say that Orr's contract fits in well. Todd Fedoruk, Aaron Voros, Jordin Tootoo, and Derek Boogaard are close in age and all make around the same amount. Boogaard and Tootoo are UFAs so it'll be interesting to see what deals they get. Not to mention that if Orr turns out to be a dud as an enforcer he can always take the streetcar down to Ricoh for the life of his contract. As long as he hits like this though no one will care what he makes: