Michael Bunting Signed by Toronto Maple Leafs

Michael Bunting

The Toronto Maple Leafs have signed left winger Michael Bunting to a two-year deal worth $1,9 million. The deal will carry an AAV of $950,000 and will carry him through the 2022-23 NHL Season. Bob Mackenzie reported the news moments ago.

Michael Bunting Signed

Michael Bunting was originally drafted by the Arizona Coyotes in the fourth round of the 2014 NHL Entry Draft. Prior to signing his entry-level contract in the Summer of 2015, Bunting spent two seasons with the OHL’s Soo Greyhounds under head coach Sheldon Keefe and general manager Kyle Dubas. He spent the better part of four seasons in the AHL under Coyotes affiliates Springfield Falcons and Tucson Roadrunners before a brief five-game stint with the big club. Bunting scored his first NHL goal in his first game. He spent the entire 2019-2020 season in the AHL, putting up a respectable 12 goals and 49 points in 58 games.

Last year, Bunting had seven goals and 19 points before being called up to Arizona on March 31. He had a goal and an assist in his season debut and scored his first career hat-trick in his fourth game. Despite playing just 21 games, Bunting finished the year with 10 goals and three assists for 13 points. The Scarborough native signed with his hometown team today – the first day of free agency.

What This Means Going Forward

The Maple Leafs decided to bring in Bunting on a cheap two-year contract to help fill the void on their left side. It’s a similar move that we’ve seen Kyle Dubas make in the past. They have their top four forwards taking up 50 percent of the cap and need to filter in players that could potentially contribute up and down the lineup. Bunting is expected to get a chance to fill some of the minutes left by Zach Hyman after he decided to sign as a free agent with the Edmonton Oilers.

Bunting is due for some regression. He scored his 10 goals last year on only 38 shots – a shooting percentage of 26.3%. The Maple Leafs can’t expect that to continue. However, there is a significant level of familiarity between the player and management. That relationship should help Bunting settle in nicely to his new team.

The Maple Leafs made two other corresponding moves. They traded for the rights to Brennan Menell and signed Michael Amadio to a two-way contract.

 

Main Photo:

LOS ANGELES, CA – APRIL 05: Arizona Coyotes Left Wing Michael Bunting (58) celebrates after scoring his second goal on Los Angeles Kings Goalie Cal Petersen (40) during NHL game between the Arizona Coyotes and the Los Angeles Kings on April 05, 2021, at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, CA. (Photo by Rob Curtis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)