This has been a quiet off season for the Toronto Maple Leafs when it comes to the unrestricted free agent market. The Leafs signed Colby Armstrong when the gate opened July 1st and Brett Lebda on July 7th, they also look to have loaded up the Marlies with a few other minor signings but the biggest move of this off season will not be a free agent signing and may just be the yet to be made trade involving blueliner Tomas Kaberle, IF that even happens.
The signing of unrestricted free agents started to slowly take shape in the mid 90's and has grown thanks to the collective bargaining agreements over the years to what we know today. The Leafs first busy summer in this new era of UFA's takes us back to 1997. The Leafs picked up Derek King, Mike Kennedy, Kris King, Igor Korolev, Kevyn Adams and Glenn Healy before the start of that season.
There have been a ton of signings since that summer of 97 by the club and I have decided to take a look at what has turned into some of the best signings in club history, now some of you may agree and some of you may disagree with my choices but their is no denying that these five players played a part for the franchise in their time donning the blue and white.
#5 Steve Thomas (Signed 1998)
The number 32 known to Leafs fans as Stumpy was signed by the club and played most of his second stint in Toronto on the right side of talented center Mats Sundin. Thomas sits 13th all time in Leafs playoff points and tied for first in goals by a right winger.
Regular Season Stats: GP- 377 G- 118 A- 173 PTS- 291
Playoff Stats: GP- 63 G- 26 A- 20 PTS- 46
# 4 Ed Belfour (Signed 2002)
The Eagle rejuvenated his career in Toronto after signing on with the club and set an all time Leafs record for most wins in a season with 37, only his back stopped him from being higher on the list.
Regular Season Stats: GP- 170 W- 93 L- 61 T- 15 SHO- 17 GAA- 2.51
Playoff Stats: GP- 20 W- 9 L- 11 SHO- 3 GAA- 2.34
# 3 Alexander Mogilny (Signed 2001)
Alexander the Great as he was dubbed in Buffalo may just be the most gifted Leaf of all time and his speed killing penalties always had the opposition on their toes. Mogilny was the only Leaf to lead the team in scoring not named Mats Sundin at anytime from 94/95 until 07/08 when he did it in 2002/03. The last Leaf to win any NHL hardware capturing the Lady Byng trophy in 2002/03.
Regular Season Stats: GP- 176 G- 65 A- 101 PTS- 166
Playoff Stats: GP- 39 G- 15 A- 9 PTS- 24
# 2 Curtis Joseph (Signed 1998)
Cujo is engraved in the hearts of many Leaf fans for his hard work and acrobatic saves and was a key part of some spectacular Leaf playoff runs. Joseph sits 4th all time in regular season wins and 3rd all time in the playoffs. Cujo returned to Toronto for one more season earning his 450th career win during the 2008-09 season in blue and white.
Regular Season Stats: GP- 270 W- 138 L- 97 T- 28 SHO- 17 GAA- 2.65
Playoff Stats: GP- 60 W- 32 L- 28 SHO- 8 GAA- 2.25
#1 Gary Roberts (Signed 2000)
Roberts brought discipline, hard work, fitness and leadership to the team and some might say its something this franchise has lacked since his departure. Roberts almost carried the club to the Stanley Cup Finals during the 2001-02 season with the club falling 2 games short. He has the fourth highest playoff point total of all time during a playoff season.
Regular Season Stats: GP- 237 G- 83 A- 74 PTS- 157
Playoff Stats: GP- 50 G- 14 A- 26 PTS- 40
Well there you have it, my Top five choices for the Best Maple Leaf UFA signings of all time, have your say by placing your vote in our poll on the side bar or just leave your comments if you agree or disagree with your selections.
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