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Leafs add toughness and bolster defence on day one of NHL free agency

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TORONTO, ON. Oct. 10, 2020 — The Toronto Maple Leafs wasted no time when the doors opened for NHL free agents at noon on Friday, signing forward Wayne Simmonds from the Sabres, and and Calgary Flames blueliner, T.J. Brodie.

Simmonds, 32, originally from Scarborough, is a power forward delivering some added toughness to the Leafs, while Brodie, 30, who grew up in Chatham, addresses a need at right D to complete a top pairing alongside Morgan Rielly.

Former Sabres winger, Wayne Simmonds signed a one-year $1.5 million contract while Brodie after spending his entire career with the Calgary Flames, inked a four-year, $20-million US contract.

Simmonds is a six-foot-two, 185-lb., 12-year NHL veteran playing with the Los Angeles Kings, Philadelphia Flyers, Nashville Predators, New Jersey Devils and most recently the Buffalo Sabres. He has been no slouch on the scoreboard throughout his career, amassing 251 goals and 499 points in 909 games.

“I’m bringing in some toughness but I’m also a pretty good hockey player so it’s more functional toughness coming from me,” said Simmonds during his first press conference following the signing. “I’m a team first type of guy who is no nonsense..I have no problem sticking up for my team mates and or being the guy who as to go out there and jumpstart the team if need be,” added Simmonds. The star power forward also said he is married with a 16-month old daughter and is looking forward to raising her in his home town where he grew up. ““We wanted to do what’s best for our family… You’ve got to think about your family and living circumstances…If we could raise our children in Toronto for the rest of our lives, that would be a pretty special thing….I’m a proud Torontonian and I’m extremely happy to be a Leaf,” said Simmonds.

Brodie, a six-foot-one 182 lb defenceman, has 48 goals and 266 points in 634 regular-season games with the Flames, as well as 15 points (four goals, 11 assists) in 30 playoff outings.

Regarding the Brodie signing, Leafs GM Kyle Dubas said, “He has played with an elite partner with Mark Girodano for a number of years now and they had a lot of success as a pair and as we try to find a partner for Morgan and Jake Muzzin now that can complement them and boost the results of our team, the style and they way that he plays and operates on the ice, and his skillset defensivley and with the puck has always seemd to fit with what we have been looking for,” said Leafs GM Kyle Dubas.

“I’m pretty excited. It’s a great team close to home and close to family,” said Brodie. When asked why he chose Toronto, Brodie said, “A lot of things, obviously everyone knows about last year and the trade that was close and the fact that they wanted me and it’s close to home,” said Brodie. “they are fast and skilled and a tough team to play against…whether its moving the puck or in the defensive zone, I hope I can contribute and make them better, ” said Brodie.

Based on the tweet from Real Sports Apparel, it is looking like Wayne Simmonds will wear number 24 and Brodie’s number is still unkown. He wore number 7 in Calgary, but that number is retired in Toronto. Perhaps he will follow in the footsteps of defence legends Ray Bourque and Paul Coffey?

story by Terry Lankstead

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