3 "Value" Free Agent Forwards for Maple Leafs to Target

The Toronto Maple Leafs have been surrounded by big-name rumors this offseason, between the future of Mitch Marner, and the team being tied to some of the most notable free agent defensemen. 

But the Buds still need a forward fix for their middle-six or bottom-six, and for that, we have to look a little farther down the UFA ranks. With the help of Jonas Siegel of The Athletic, let's go through some of those "value" options that would fit for the Leafs, those who have the potential to "outplay their contracts and provide some much-needed value under the cap".

Connor Brown

A reunion with Brown could be something the Leafs look at this summer, if the Edmonton Oilers fail to re-sign him. He had an odd season with the Edmonton Oilers this year, struggling to career lows in goals (4), assists (8) and points (12). After he missed most of the previous year with a torn ACL, it obviously took him some time to readjust. And he did so in the playoffs, where he was excellent, using his speed to great effect. 

After his down year on the scoresheet, he could be had for under a million AAV, as predicted by AFP, after his $4 million cap hit this past season. And as Siegel writes, a return to his 15-goal days wouldn't be very surprising for Brown with the Leafs.

Anthony Duclair

He might cost a bit more, even in the $4 million range, but would certainly offer far more production than Brown. In fact, as Siegel notes, Duclair's stats were a tad better than Tyler Bertuzzi's (24 goals to 21 goals), the Leafs' own UFA who they're trying to re-sign, but Duclair should cost a fair bit less. It should be something the Leafs consider. 

Teddy Blueger

The former second-round pick, going into his age-30 season, has never really broken through big-time on the scoresheet, but he did tie his career high this past season with 28 points in 68 games with the Vancouver Canucks, and set a new personal high assist mark with 22. He was a boon to the Canucks' penalty kill and plays a "competitive, blue-collar" type of game. Siegel figures that he "makes some sense as an upgrade on Pontus Holmberg in the 3C spot if the price is similar to last season".

However, a late update on Wednesday has the Canucks re-signing Blueger to an extension, so take him off this list.

Photo: © Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports