Shanahan calls it a ‘bad habit’ to build team in free agency

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“With all due respect to the players that were signed for big dollars and big term, we looked at July 1st this year and decided that we didn’t want to be too involved with some of those big signings … It’s a bad habit to try and build your team on July 1st year after year after year.”

That was Maple Leafs president Brendan Shanahan, per TSN.ca, after Toronto stayed largely out of the free-agent frenzy. The biggest deal the club gave out on July 1 was for four years and $11.8 million, to former Leaf Leo Komarov. The Leafs also signed veteran defenseman Stephane Robidas to a three-year, $9 million contract, before giving Mike Santorelli a one-year, $1.5 million commitment on July 3.

Toronto had wanted to re-sign Dave Bolland, but ultimately would not give the veteran center what Florida offered (five years, $27.5 million).

The Leafs, of course, have been burned in free agency before. Just last year they gave David Clarkson a seven-year, $36.75 million deal, only to watch him score five times in 2013-14.

Defenseman Mike Komisarek was another free-agent bust.