Treliving excited about 'snot' Domi, Bertuzzi will bring to Maple Leafs
Brad Treliving's vision for the Maple Leafs arguably became clearer one day after free agency opened, with Toronto's new general manager signing gritty forwards Tyler Bertuzzi and Max Domi to one-year deals.
"There's a DNA in them that we need, a little more snot to our game," the executive said Monday, according to the Toronto Sun's Lance Hornby.
"I feel better about our team (than after July 1). We were cognizant about trying to replace some offense, but there are also specific skill sets we're looking for."
The Maple Leafs lost some snarl in free agency, with defenseman Luke Schenn and forward Noel Acciari departing for the Nashville Predators and Pittsburgh Penguins, respectively. Schenn led the entire league with 318 hits in 70 games this past campaign, while Acciari placed among the top 10 forwards with 244 hits during the regular season.
Acciari took his physical game up a notch in the playoffs, ranking fourth among all skaters with 78 hits in 11 games. The three players ahead of him - Keegan Kolesar, Sam Bennett, and Radko Gudas - all skated in at least 20 contests and appeared in the Stanley Cup Final.
Bertuzzi and Domi are also accustomed to physicality - the former threw 54 hits in 50 games in 2022-23, while the latter amassed 82 penalty minutes in 80 contests. However, both come with more offensive upside that will fit the Leafs' profile well.
"The game never changes," Treliving said. "We need players, and they need to be able to play at the most important times when the rink shrinks and you need courage. ... You can't just have players with piss and vinegar if they can't play."
Domi eclipsed the 20-goal mark for the second time in his career this campaign while playing for the Chicago Blackhawks and Dallas Stars. Two hand injuries hampered Bertuzzi during the regular season, but he came alive in his first taste of playoff action, putting up five goals and five assists in seven contests with the Boston Bruins.
Toronto also added prolific enforcer Ryan Reaves to its ranks Saturday.
The Maple Leafs are $8.8 million over the $83.5-million cap with one restricted free agent - goalie Ilya Samsonov - on their books, per CapFriendly. Toronto can get just over $5.6 million in relief by placing defenseman Jake Muzzin on long-term injured reserve.
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