Report: Toronto Maple Leafs to Sign Nick Shore

The Toronto Maple Leafs have reportedly signed free agent forward Nick Shore. Elliotte Friedman broke the news in a post for Sportsnet.

Nick Shore signs with Maple Leafs

Shore has appeared in 236 NHL games dating back to the 2014-15 season. The center spent his first four years as a member of the Los Angeles Kings before serving short stints with the Ottawa Senators and Calgary Flames. Shore played overseas last season with Metallurg Magnitogorsk of the Kontinental Hockey League.

Shore has never been able to score at a high level in the NHL, though he played a significant defensive and possession driving role for the Kings in the early stages of his career. In 2015-16, his best season, Shore registered a 61.4 percent Corsi-for in 68 games played. Shore has never scored more than 17 points in a season, so his offensive upside is severely limited. The center finally found some offensive success in the KHL last season, but it remains to be seen as to whether that can translate to the NHL.

Outlook

The signing is likely a depth move for the Leafs. Center is already a deep position for Toronto, especially with the signing of veteran Jason Spezza. Though he was not an everyday NHL player when the league last saw Shore, perhaps he found his game in Russia. Still, Shore is a serviceable bottom six center. Relative to league average, Shore’s team has a +19 percent shot differential when he’s on the ice.

With Shore, the Leafs now have options at centre. Kadri could move to wing, or be moved to acquire a defensive player.┬áIf the Leafs plan to keep Kadri on the team, and at centre, Shore provides a solid insurance option. This may be a good policy, given Kadri’s penchant for earning suspensions. The addition of Spezza and Shore should make the Leafs situation at centre all the more interesting.