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Photo Credit: Tom Szczerbowski / USA TODAY Sports

Report: Leafs exploring signing Derek Ryan… or Tyler Bozak

While most of the eyes of free agency are (deservedly) on the potential of Toronto signing John Tavares tomorrow, two new (well, one not-so-new) names entered the conversation on Saturday as a centre for the Leafs next season.

First, it was TSN’s Frank Seravalli who suggested there was the chance the Leafs would end up with Carolina’s Derek Ryan, who posted 15 goals and 23 assists in 80 games this past season.

Ryan, a 31-year old American, has played just three seasons in the NHL after a journeyman career through Europe and the AHL. On a one-year deal this past season, he was making just $1.425 million, but likely would be seeing a raise in free agency.

But while one of Barney Stinson’s rules may be “New is always better”, there’s a chance the Leafs just stick with what they know, and may decide to make Tyler Bozak a lifer.

Bozak himself put up 43 points (11 G, 32 A) over 81 matches this year, putting him about on par with Ryan, but his $3.725 million cap hit (over the last five seasons) dwarfs Ryan.

Again, if the Leafs were to land Tavares, this would all be pretty moot, as they’d simply be adding at the top of the lineup and shuffling around instead of looking to fit the 3C role specifically.

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