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Alex Ovechkin #8 of the Washington Capitals takes the puck as Joey Anderson #49 of the New Jersey Devils defends in the third period at Prudential Center on March 19, 2019 in Newark, New Jersey.
The Maple Leafs settled two contractual issues on Friday aimed at helping depth up front and in net.
They signed their remaining restricted free agent, forward Joey Anderson, and in a surprise move, brought back unrestricted goaltender Michael Hutchinson.
Anderson, obtained from New Jersey in the recent cap-clearing trade for Andreas Johnsson, inked a three-year extension (two-way in the first two seasons) with an NHL average annual value of $750,000 US.
When last seen around Toronto in February, Hutchinson had hit a wall with a series of sub-par performances, cleared waivers, was demoted to the AHL Marlies and then traded to Colorado for defenceman Calle Rosen. He picked himself up with a couple of playoff wins for the Avs. With the Leafs looking for veteran insurance on the farm. He agreed to a two-year, two-way deal of $725,000 AAV.
Michael Hutchinson #30 of the Toronto Maple Leafs looks on against the Florida Panthers during the third period at BB&T Center on January 12, 2020 in Sunrise, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)Anderson is a former third-round pick of Jersey, projected as a Zach Hyman-type forward, capable of playing in the bottom-six. The 22-year-old split last season between the Devils and their farm team. In 18 NHL games, the Minnesotan had four goals and two assists, and in 53 career games, managed eight goals and five helpers.
Hutchinson, once Frederik Andersen’s backup and briefly a No. 1 when the latter was hurt, would now be fourth on Toronto’s goalie depth chart under Andersen, Jack Campbell and Aaron Dell. But the Leafs are protecting themselves in case they lose Dell on waivers whenever the NHL starts up again and need one veteran goalie on the farm with prospects Joseph Woll and Ian Scott not yet ready. With Hutchinson now under contract for ’21-22, he’s also the likely goalie Leafs make available for the Seattle Kraken expansion draft next summer, with Dell only signed for one year.
Hutchinson started well for Toronto a couple of years ago when Garret Sparks was let go, but lost four of his final five decisions in ’19-20, leading the Leafs to acquire Campbell from the L.A. Kings. Carrying a season record of 4-9-1 with an .886 save percentage to Denver, Hutchinson won his first game for the Avs on his 30th birthday, March 2 against Detroit. He then appeared in four playoff games against Arizona and Dallas, winning an elimination game versus the Stars for his first-ever post-season victory.
The Barrie native, who also started in Winnipeg and was briefly in Florida, has a career record of 51-52-14 and a .905 save percentage.
Copyright Postmedia Network Inc., 2020