Leafs sign Spezza and complete 6-player trade with Senators

Jul 1 2019, 4:31 pm

The Toronto Maple Leafs have made some noise on the first day of free agency in the NHL.

Jason Spezza is coming home, as the Toronto native signed a one-year contract worth $700,000. The 36-year-old isn’t the front-line player he once was, scoring just 27 points (8-19-27) in 76 games with the Dallas Stars last season.

With 915 points in 1065 career games, Spezza has had an exceptional career – one he’s hoping to rejuvenate with a highly-skilled Maple Leafs team.

The Leafs also completed a six-player deal with the Ottawa Senators.

Toronto picks up defencemen Cody Ceci and Ben Harpur, as well as minor league centre Aaron Luchuk and Columbus’ third-round draft pick in 2020, in exchange for Nikita Zaitsev, Connor Brown, and minor league forward Michael Carcone.

Ceci, 25, is the key to the deal for the Leafs. The restricted free agent scored 26 points (7-19-26) in 74 games with the Sens last season. The right-shot defenceman averaged 22:34 of ice time – second most among defencemen on an undermanned team in Ottawa last season.

The Leafs will miss Connor Brown, who scored 29 points (8-21-29) last season, but they successfully shedded Nikita Zaitsev’s contract – which has five years left carrying a $4.5 million cap hit. The 27-year-old Russian defenceman has been unable to replicate the success of his first season in Toronto, when he scored 36 points in 2016-17.

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