Bunting Struggles For Maple Leafs Not All Bad News

Before the Toronto Maple Leafs' previous game, Michael Bunting was clearly struggling offensively. The top-six winger had been demoted down a few lines this season and the top line just wasn't clicking like it had last season.

With a handful of players eating up a ton of cap space, the Maple Leafs constantly have to find depth players and role players to step up and outperform their contracts. Bunting was one of those players for them last season. He scored just two goals and six points in the first 16 games before putting up two goals and an assist in their last game.

Last season Bunting broke out for 23 goals and 63 points in 76 games, finishing third in Calder Trophy voting. The expectation would be that those numbers would be similar or even improve this season alongside the team's two top stars.

The Maple Leafs constantly have to search for new players to step in since their role players leave in free agency for more money. Bunting is a candidate to do the same after this season. If he keeps up the production from last season, he is going to ask for more money than the team can afford to give him to stick around. So even though the Maple Leafs would love to have him be as productive as last season, they may be able to keep him around in hopes for a better long-term contract with the team.

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