article

Report: Bozak done in Toronto

It'll take a huge turn of events to keep him in TO.

Share on Facebook

Tyler Bozak has been a member of the Toronto Maple Leafs since the 2009-10 season.

Undrafted, the 31 year old turned out to be a hidden gem, posting a very respectable 336 points over 544 career regular season games in the NHL, all in Toronto.

Unfortunately for Bozak, all signs point to this being the last year he gets to don the blue and white, as his contract is set to expire and his play hasn't inspired management to extend him.

His ice time has dipped along with his production, falling out of favour with head coach Mike Babcock, according to The Athletic's James Mirtle.

"I think it's been more clear than ever this season, however, that Babcock isn't a huge fan of what he brings at even strength," Mirtle says. "This is the fourth consecutive year Bozak's ice time has dropped. He isn't producing much 5-on-5 and even his faceoff numbers aren't there this year.

"It'll be time to move on — and it'll be fascinating what kind of contract (and role) he gets elsewhere. On a lesser team, he can play a top nine role. On a Leafs roster that should be good enough to contend, he's a weak point that opposition coaches are trying to exploit."

Mirtle points out that the Leafs don't have an immediate replacement for Bozak in the system, as does fill an important role as third line center. They'll have to prepare for a trade or free agent signing to fill the gap, otherwise they'll have problems. It could be solved with Bozak taking a discount, as he currently takes $4.2 million off the team's cap and wouldn't be offered anything near there on his next contract.

There are teams like the Pittsburgh Penguins that are interested in him, and happen to be in dire need of a 3C. Could this be the time for Lou Lamoriello to pull the trigger on a Bozak deal?

Stay tuned.