The Maple Leafs made a low-risk bet at the bottom end of their lineup today, signing Shawn Matthias to a one-year deal worth $2.3 million.
Matthias is a 27-year old Brampton, Ontario native who played last season with the Vancouver Canucks. He was acquired by the Canucks the previous season from the Florida Panthers in the Roberto Luongo trade, who had previously acquired him in 2007 from the Detroit Red Wings in the Todd Bertuzzi trade.
The Red Wings originally drafted Matthias in the 2nd round of the 2006 draft.
Matthias has developed into a useful depth forward, and scored 18 goals and 27 points for the Canucks this past season. The goal production is likely skewed by 13% shooting last season compared to a career level of 10.3% (slightly skewed). His underlying numbers paint the picture of a perfectly cromulent fourth line forward who might get an opportunity to play higher up the lineup on a depleted Leaf team.
This probably isn't a long term signing, but another opportunity to acquire established NHL players to pump up their value and move them later in the year for a pick.
Short-term, Matthias adds another body to the NHL lineup that insulates prospects who need more seasoning in the minors by holding the 4C role but who can probably push a player like Peter Holland for the 3C role.
The price ($2.3 million) is steep for a bet like this but it's a one-year deal and the Leafs have a lot of cap space post-Phil Kessel trade.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-partner="tweetdeck"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">All smiles today! Grew up cheering for the <a href="https://twitter.com/MapleLeafs">@MapleLeafs</a> couldn't be happier to play for my hometown team! Can't wait to throw on that jersey!</p>— Shawn Matthias (@ShawnMatthias) <a href="https://twitter.com/ShawnMatthias/status/618075244796903425">July 6, 2015</a></blockquote>
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