The Toronto Maple Leafs makeover of their blueline continues.
Leafs GM Dave Nonis signed defenceman Stephane Robidas to a three-year deal in the opening two hours of free agency on Tuesday, giving him $3-million a season.
Robidas may be 37 and coming off of two significant leg injuries, but he had a good season last year split between Dallas and Anaheim and will help the Leafs defensively provided he’s healthy.
He can play tough competition and big minutes and will do coach Randy Carlyle a favour in giving him another option beyond newcomer Roman Polak to play in tough situations.
He will also likely be an alternate captain given his experience and easily the oldest member of a team that has had hardly anyone over 30 years old the last few years.
Three years is a lot of term for a 37-year-old, but that’s also the price you pay in free agency.
The most interesting aspect of the signing is the fact Robidas plays the right side, where the Leafs already have Dion Phaneuf, Polak and Cody Franson.
They have two options there: Either move Phaneuf to the left side, where he’s clearly less comfortable and effective, or trade Franson, who is a restricted free agent and likely headed to arbitration.
As of right now, the Leafs blueline looks as so:
Phaneuf - Robidas
Gardiner - Franson
Rielly - Polak
Toronto has thus far been fairly quiet in free agency, but they did manage to bring back two former players from their successful 2012-13 season. Most notably, they re-signed super pest Leo Komarov, who spent last season in the KHL, on a four-year, $2.95-million-a-season deal.
That's big money for a player that played mainly among the bottom six forwards and contributed limited offence in his first stint in the NHL, but the Leafs believe they need his tenacity to improve their penalty kill and defensive game.
They'll be hoping Komarov can provide more offence than he did the first time around, as Toronto's depth forwards don't have a lot of scoring punch right now.
The Leafs also made a small trade, dealing Jerry D’Amigo to Columbus for the rights to winger Matt Frattin.
They did miss out on keep centre Dave Bolland, which is just as well given Florida gave him a ridiculous contract for $5.5-million a season over five years.
Matching that would have been a huge mistake.