Tyler Bozak, Martin Brodeur

Maple Leafs re-sign Tyler Bozak to discount two-year, $1.95M deal

For quite some time, it was easy for Toronto Maple Leafs fans to dislike Tyler Bozak. Fair or not, his $3.725 million salary cap hit brought some heavy expectations for the young forward and he failed to satisfy the rabid Leafs fan base. Sure, there were some who made some logical arguments in defense of his play, but that price tag and misplaced expectations kept staring many playoff-starved fans in the face.

It should be easier for Leafs fans to cut Bozak some slack after Tuesday, though. The right-handed center signed a two-year, $1.95 million deal to remain in Toronto. That takes his cap hit to under $1 million per year ($975K to be exact), an eyebrow-raising drop from that previous $3.725 million mark. The Bozak deal completes a nice day of work for Leafs GM Brian Burke, who gave Clarke MacArthur a healthy raise but limited his risk by making it a two-year contract as well.

Perhaps such a nice day of signings should keep Steve Simmons and other Toronto media types from criticizing Burke for his work schedule?

Bozak scored 32 points in 2010-11 and 27 in 09-10. The 25-year-old center won’t be the kind of player who will make or break the Maple Leafs’ hopes of finally ending their playoff curse, but if the team makes enough solid decisions like these, they have a nice shot. We’ll take a look at the Maple Leafs’ work during the off-season later on this week.

Note: thanks to Crash the Crease and Tyler Schocks for clarification regarding Bozak’s contract.

Report: Islanders cut first-rounder Barzal from camp

Mathew Barzal
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It seems Mathew Barzal has played in his last game in a New York Islanders’ uniform for a little while.

Barzal took part in the Islanders’ preseason finale against the Washington Capitals on Sunday, but after that contest the Islanders decided to return him to WHL Seattle, per Newsday’s Arthur Staple.

He was taken with the 16th overall pick in 2015 NHL Entry Draft. That selection was well-traveled as it originally belonged to the Pittsburgh Penguins, but was involved in the David Perron trade and then moved to the Islanders as part of Edmonton’s deal to get Griffin Reinhart.

Barzal is noteworthy for his skill and speed, but he may have slipped in the draft due to a knee injury he sustained during the 2014-15 campaign.

The Islanders also reassigned Kirill Petrov, Kevin Czuczman, Scott Mayfield, and Adam Pelech to the AHL’s Bridgeport Sound Tigers.

Torres offered in-person hearing, potentially setting up long suspension

Torres hit

What will Raffi Torres get this time?

The 33-year-old forward that has become known primarily for his controversial hits has once again put himself in the sights of the NHL’s Department of Players Safety. They confirmed that he was offered an in-person hearing following his hit on Jakub Silfverberg Saturday night. He declined the opportunity to meet with them face-to-face, but the offer itself is an important detail because it gives the league the option to suspend him for more than five games.

It certainly seems like the stage is set for a lengthy suspension. While Torres is not considered a repeat offender as his last suspension came more than 18 months ago, the NHL still retains the right to consider his history when deciding on this matter.

Among other incidents, he was once was banned from 25 games for his hit on Marian Hossa in 2012, although it was later reduced to 21 contests after an appeal. The NHL found that Torres was guilty of breaking three rules for that hit; namely interference, charging, and illegally hitting the head. The NHL is reviewing Torres’ latest incident for the same three violations.

You can see the hit below:

And here it is slowed down:

Torres got a match penalty and Silfverberg left the game. Fortunately, Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said that Silfverberg could have returned, but was kept out for precautionary reasons.