Former Maple Leaf Michael Bunting Reveals How Free Agency Went Down

Michael Bunting had two solid years with the Toronto Maple Leafs with back-to-back 23-goal seasons, establishing himself for free agency this summer. So how did it all go down in the process that led to him leaving Toronto and signing with the Carolina Hurricanes?

Bunting explained on Sportsnet Radio on Wednesday that he never really received an offer from the Leafs this summer. 

To be honest... there wasn't a lot of contract talk that went on during the season. Then once the offseason came along, didn't really hear much. You kinda just figured that, nah, it wasn't going to work out... So that's when I started transitioning to free agency and focusing on that. I'm really happy how it ended up with Carolina.  I'm really not sure what transpired (with the Leafs front office) or what they thought... It was just quick talks. Nothing extensive. 

Was he upset about not getting a real offer from the Leafs?

"No... That's the business. You understand how it works. We're playing in a cap era, and the cap comes into (play) with every single team. They tried their best to make everything work...with the cap situation that they're in. I totally understand the business side of it."

But once Carolina came calling, "I didn't hesitate." Bunting said that he had told his agents that he "wanted to win" when starting the free agency process. Signing in Carolina "was a no-brainer."

In 187 career games, Bunting has recorded 57 goals, 69 assists and 126 points along with 197 penalty minutes. He's also a plus-47. 

Photo: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports