Michael Bunting projected to make bank in next contract

Is he worth this much?



With the offseason officially in motion for the Toronto Maple Leafs, the work is beginning for their management group of exactly who stays and who departs. Plenty of decisions will have to be made, considering the Leafs have several players who are in need of new contracts. Needless to say, it won't be possible to bring back every player that helped them advance past Round 1 of the postseason for the first time since 2004; it's just simply the reality of the cap era. 

One player who is up for a new contract is 2022 Calder Trophy nominee Michael Bunting, who has proven himself to be a key contributor to the Leafs offense - when he's in the lineup. You'll remember that he has often run afoul of the on ice officials, and was also suspended during the postseason for a questionable high hit on Tampa Bay's Erik Cernak.

And as you may know, Bunting is one of the most intense players in hockey, and has often let his temper get the better of him.

He scored 23 goals with 26 assists this season with the Leafs, which was the final year of the two-year, $1.9 million deal he signed. So, what exactly can he expect to garner on the open market? Take a look at this excerpt from The Athletic

"According to the model, there is no forward on the market more valuable than Michael Bunting and it’s not too difficult to see why. Since joining the Leafs Bunting has been on the ice for 58 percent of the expected goals and 62 percent of goals at five-on-five. Very few players see a bigger jump in offensive creation than Bunting and he’s scored 2.55 points per 60 at five-on-five in Toronto. That ranks 24th in the league over the time frame, narrowly ahead of Jonathan Huberdeau and Artemi Panarin. The only thing holding back his point totals is ice time, specifically on the power play.

The model sees Bunting as a $6 million player, a shade above the $5.5 million projected for him by Evolving Hockey. The problem is that treats his numbers in a vacuum which isn’t the right way to go about things for a player who has spent a lot of time next to Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner. How much of Bunting’s high Offensive Rating is a product of who he plays with?"

That would be a substantial raise from his current cap hit of $950K. Are you comfortable with paying him this much? 

Source: The Athletic