3 Free-Agent Destinations for Maple Leafs' Michael Bunting

The Toronto Maple Leafs have a decision to make when it comes to pending unrestricted free agent Michael Bunting. The pesky winger is up for a new contract and will be looking for a hefty raise on his $950,000 salary from last season. 

Bunting recorded 49 points in 82 games in 2022-23, however a Stanley Cup Playoff suspension put a damper on his chances of returning to the Maple Leafs. Money of course, is a factor as well, as new general manager Brad Treliving will need to decide if he wants to pay up to retain Bunting's services. 

If not, look for these three teams to be involved:

Edmonton Oilers

The Oilers are looking for another top-six forward and help on the wing as they'll try to offload Kailer Yamamoto this offseason. Once they manage to get his $3.1 million off the books, look for general manager Ken Holland to be very active. Things are getting to a breaking point in Edmonton and this is a very crucial offseason. Adding a player like Bunting seems like a wise move for the Oil.

Washington Capitals

The Caps are in a tough spot because they are trying to retool on the fly. Evgeny Kuznetsov is on his way out and they'll look to shift some of their salary cap arrangements. There's room to add up front and Bunting could slide in nicely on the left slide and be an absolute pest with a player like Tom Wilson playing security guard on the right wing. 

New Jersey Devils

The Devils have some veterans who are due new deals and GM Tom Fitzgerald could look to go another direction. They have loads of cap space and will surely be looking to add up front. Bunting would fit in nicely with a young core and could get some second power-play minutes in Jersey. 

Bunting was a beloved Maple Leaf, both among Leafs Nation and with his teammates. He's great at drawing penalties and he's one to bring his linemates into the fight with him. Whoever ends up is getting a gem.

Photo credit:  Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports