I have grown weary of discussing a certain other UFA, so I thought I'd pick on another team. The Carolina Hurricanes are in Toronto, and so is Eric Staal. Would the Maple Leafs get anything out of signing this good Canadian center this summer, as part of Shanahan's overarching goal of "bringing the boys home"?
Staal was signed with the Canes on a 7-year contract with a cap hit of 8,250,000 (expiring this summer), and although he's had six seasons of Selke-nomination-worthy performances (between 2007 and 2012), he hasn't really looked like himself for the past two. If we get rid of the expectation that he'll play like a 25-year-old again, would he still be worth picking up for a much lower price than his 8+ million?
His production for the past two seasons are fine. He's a hoss (as we say in the South), and only during the lockout has he played fewer than 70 games in a season. His numbers for 2013-14 are: 21G/40A for 61 points; 2014-2015, 23G/31A for 54 points. Fine, nothing near the 70-ish points of the strongest years of his career, but then there's this: Staal is improving as a two-way center, which seems shocking considering that he's on the downward curve of his career. His CF%, which was at 50% during his times of greatest production, is steadily climbing: 2013-14, 52.4%; 2014-15, 57.1%; current season, 58.3% so far.
What money is a stray Staal worth, especially this seasoned veteran who clearly plays the right way, stays healthy, and is a good Canadian kid? Also, he really loves fish.