Per James Mirtle of the Globe and Mail, the Toronto Maple Leafs have agreed to terms on a two-year deal with restricted free agent Frazer McLaren. Mirtle reports the salary figure as $700,000 per season.
McLaren previously had a cap hit of $632,500, so he’s receiving a slight and expected raise as an RFA. The Leafs claimed McLaren off of waivers from the San Jose Sharks in January of this year, deploying him in 35 games. He tallied just five points and racked up 102 penalty minutes, placing third in the NHL with 12 fights, per HockeyFights.com.
As Mirtle points out, McLaren is a "Randy Carlyle guy," bringing toughness on the fourth line with fellow face-puncher Colton orr, although McLaren is better at the actual game of ice hockey.
The Leafs still have six RFAs to sign and then another four roster spots. It’s nice that they were able to get one of those spots filled at a low cap hit, though I’d argue to my death that there’s no need for two guys of this nature on the team.
This is an ultra low-risk move but also a low-impact one. McLaren appeared in just a single playoff game, which tells you all you need to know about a) his skill level and b) the value of this kind of player in meaningful games.
While it might seem silly to quibble over small amounts of money, McLaren is probably a guy who you could have got for even less than his $700k price tag. Joey Crabb, for example, signed for 2-years $1.2M today. As i wrote about the other day, individual small-money mistakes aren’t that big a deal, but they can really add up and cost a team. The Leafs are now paying McLaren and Orr a combined $1.625M in each of the next two years even though you could fill that same role with a single player at maybe $600k or via the waiver wire (where guys like McLaren are readily available).
And don’t be fooled by McLaren’s three goals in limited action, either – none of those goals went inoff of his stick. That’s not offensive potential.
But hey, this is going to be a tough team with Carlyle’s identity. McLaren and Orr might eventually challenge for the Tag Team Championships and they might even get an annoying nickname together, like Bash Brothers Redux #431 or McLORRen or something. So, there’s that. And the fights!