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Report: Maple Leafs to sign UFA Garrett Wilson

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The Pittsburgh and Wilkes Barre/Scranton Penguin is a traditional fourth-line tweener.

New York Islanders v Pittsburgh Penguins - Game Three
Wilson after scoring against the New York Islanders in the playoffs last year.
Photo by Joe Sargent/NHLI via Getty Images

This is the only report on this signing so far, but it is the weekend and everyone else is sipping margaritas.

The Pittsburgh Penguins had a traditional, veteran grinder fourth line last year that featured Matt Cullen, now retired, in his swan song, and usually featured Garrett Wilson. The photo up above shows Wilson celebrating one of his two goals on the season in 50 games. He also appeared in 18 AHL games after spending the previous two seasons entirely in the AHL.

Wilson, a multi-positional winger who shoots left, is listed at 6’2” and 198 lb. He is 28, and he was drafted originally by the Florida Panthers. After a successful OHL career, where he scored 40 goals in his final season with the Owen Sound Attack at age 20, he began his pro hockey career bouncing up and down from the AHL to the ECHL. Wilson is that rarest of players: someone who played meaningful time in the ECHL on an NHL contract and eventually got in some NHL games.

In the years since turning pro, he has 101 ECHL games, 362 AHL games and 84 NHL games. His NHL points per game is 0.10. For reference, Roman Polak, a defenceman, has 0.18 points per game on his career.

Wilson started his pro career on an $800,000 ELC, and his subsequent contracts have been at or near league-minimum ever since. He is the sort of tweener player who is shown the respect of a one-way NHL deal, however, but he also clears waivers with ease.

The Leafs have a comfortable SPC situation at the moment with only 45 of a maximum of 50 contracts on the books and only one RFA to sign. (Number is from Cap Friendly and includes the still unofficial deals for Kenny Agostino and Nick Shore.) They will also have at least one SPC slide (Semyon Der-Arguchintsev) so if this signing is made official, there’s still room for four more NHL contracts after Mitch Marner signs.

If Wilson is signed to a one-way deal, that amount would be added to the offseason cap hit, and make the offseason cap space smaller. This signing might remain unofficial for a while yet like the other two.

Wilson would likely slot in on the Marlies, where he would provide some veteran experience, and would help out with a roster of wingers who aren’t as plentiful as the team might like. Watch for Hardev’s deeper look at the Marlies depth on Monday. He covers the topic of the forwards in full.

UPDATE:

This lends a little credence to my theory that some of these contracts are being held back to make the fiddling around to activate LTIR to the most benefit.