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Photo Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig/USA Today Sports

Maple Leafs sign Ben Smith to one-year extension, worth $650k

The offseason is already in full swing as the Toronto Maple Leafs have made a couple of moves today.

One of the most intriguing is the extension of Ben Smith. Smith, a centerman has been given a one-year extension worth $650k. In 36 games this past season, he scored two goals and two assists for a total of four points.

The numbers aren’t great on the surface and they aren’t much better when taking a deep dive into his shot metrics either.

Out of players that have played 20 or more games, Smith had the worst CF% at 5v5. The same goes for GF% and FF% as well. Where people fall in love with Smith is the amount of face-offs he wins on a regular basis. Unfortunately for him, there is no correlation between face-offs and these shot metrics.

Another reason to sign Smith is the help he brings with the expansion draft. He helps meet requirements for the Leafs and can be buried with the Marlies. It is disconcerting that he will occupy a slot with the Leafs, while they’re so close to the 50 contract limit.

While the initial optics are bad, it does look like the contract helps out the team in a few ways. It may not be on the ice but it will help the team nonetheless.

[Stats courtesy of Natural Stat Trick]

    • FlareKnight

      Not that weird. Smith knows he’s going to be in the AHL next year. The only reason he’d sign a deal like this in order to give the Leafs expansion draft options is if he gets that 1-way deal. Thus he’ll get that full contract value no matter where he plays. Important financial security for a guy without a long NHL career ahead of him.

  • The Russian Rocket

    I’m happy with this if it’s just a paper move that doesn’t affect the team on the ice. He can be packaged in another 5-player Grabner type deal if need be.

  • MartinPolak

    I’m ok with this move as it lets up protect both komarov and martin. I’ve been telling jeffler he has been wrong on Martin all season as he will be protected (despite him saying everything is not about the expansion draft). Now just wait till we extend Polak as depth, trade for a right D and this off season will be a home run.

  • BarelyComments

    I have no problem if this is just to sure up some no. 5 centre depth, but if this was done just so we can protect Martin over Leipsic, Leivo, or Rychel i’m going to be pissed.

    • Gary Empey

      No matter how you roll the dice, three of those four players you mentioned will become available to Vegas. Martin is the only one who presently dresses for every game. We have gotten rid of Phaneuf. Polak may not be back. Losing Martin could make us one of the softest teams in the NHL. Secondly, all 30 NHL teams are agonizing over this problem. The Leafs are actually in a lot better shape then most of them. Lastly, Smith suddenly has some trade value to a team forced to expose one of their really good young forwards.