Leafs prospect Toninato has ‘no other choice’ than to go UFA

Back in May, we wrote about Minnesota-Duluth standout Dominic Toninato, the Toronto draftee that’s yet to receive a contract offer from the club. His agent, Neil Sheehy, said there were ‘many teams’ interested in Toninato, should he eventually become a free agent.

He’s about to become exactly that.

Per the Star, Toninato passed on Toronto’s offer — an AHL contract with the Marlies — and will go UFA on Aug. 15. The decision comes after Toronto was fairly aggressive in free agency, most notably with the Patrick Marleau signing, and are pushed right up against the maximum of 50 professional contracts NHL teams are allowed.

Sheehy said Toninato wanted to sign with the Leafs, “but he didn’t get that option.” The veteran agent added his client had “no other choice” than to head to free agency.

“He likes Toronto and would have signed with Toronto,” Sheehy told the Star. “But they were not able to do anything. We want people to know he is going to be a free agent.”

Toninato, 23, was Toronto’s fifth-round pick way back in 2012. From there, he went the collegiate route and put together a strong four years at Minnesota-Duluth. His NCAA career culminated with a senior season in which he served as team captain, set a personal high in points and led the Bulldogs to the Frozen Four final.

It is worth noting Toronto offered an entry-level deal last summer, but Toninato turned it down to finish school.

 

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