The Toronto Maple Leafs announced today that the hockey club has signed defenceman Simon Benoit to a one-year contract worth $775,000.
Benoit, 24, skated in 78 games with the Anaheim Ducks last season, registering three goals and seven assists. The 6'3, 208-pound defenceman has recorded 15 points (four goals, 11 assists) in 137 career regular season games, all with Anaheim.
The Laval, QC native was originally signed by the San Diego Gulls (AHL) as a free agent on September 27th, 2018.
Benoit is a legitimately interesting guy. Played so dramatically over his head last year that he averaged over 19 minutes per game, his results by any measure are not encouraging. He is more genuinely a depth defender with the proven ability to survive faking his way as a second pairing defender.
His defensive results last season were actually in many ways better than John Klingberg's, with whom he sometimes played. In 2021-2022, when he played a more rational 15 minutes as the 5th defender, he produced what you expect from that position in terms of overall value.
His contract is inexpensive, and because he was played so much, yet had only 10 points last year, he's been sitting on the UFA list (after not receiving a QO from the Ducks) until this late in the season. As a depth defender, this may be a very smart acquisition of a young player. Just don't play him top pair.
Welcome to Toronto, Simon, where everyone loves the defencemen.