It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to conclude that the majority of free agents still available on the open market are all either past their prime or borderline NHLers who would be lucky to get a one-way contract. While there are slim pickings, one name in particular comes to mind who would bring a physical element to the roster, along with veteran leadership during his 1,000-plus games over the last 14 years.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I didn’t take the time to slave over my computer screen on a humid summer day to scour though the remaining available UFAs, but thanks to Michael Langlois from Vintage Leaf Memories, the suggestion to pursue Mike Grier piqued my interest.
Here’s what Michael had to say about Grier:
“Iâ€™d be happy if the Leafs took a modest run at veteran winger Mike Grier.Â From what I can see, heâ€™s not the player he was years ago when he was one of the better muckers and corner men in the game.Â He canâ€™t play at that intense, grinding level for 82 games anymore, but could be a useful guy should the Leafs make the playoffs, if he played sparingly and had a light workload through much of the regular season.”
The Leafs already have Colby Armstrong and either Colton Orr or Jay Rosehill pencilled in on the bottom six at right wing, but Grier could be another option who can do the dirty work in the corners that a Bozak or Lombardi might be hesitant to get involved with while presenting more of a secondary offensive scoring threat than an Orr or Rosehill. Grier has shown the ability to be a consistent 10 goal, 20-25 point player from the bottom six, but we can expect similar production to last season – 5 goals, 16 points in the second lowest minutes per game of regular (>60GP) Sabres forwards Â - going forward. Given the battle scars on the 36-year-old Grier are starting to rear their ugly head, it’s unlikely this means the end of anybody’s roster spot hopes if he were added to the fold.
I could see Grier forming a deadly combination with Mike Brown on his opposite wing as the two act as a thorn in the side of the opposition. It won’t cost the Leafs much and it’s not a very big commitment on a probable one-year term. Worse comes to worst and the team is struggling come February, why not move him to a contender?
What say you Leafs Nation?
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What free agents should the Leafs pursue who are still available on the open market? Or is the roster set in terms of depth?