The Toronto Maple Leafs have re-signed center Tyler Bozak to a five-year $21 million contract. Bozak, 27, was an unrestricted free agent for only a couple hours before coming to an agreement with Toronto.
Bozak, who has played four years with the Leafs, was signed as a free agent from the University of Denver.
In 238 NHL games, Bozak has scored 53 goals and 81 assists for a total of 134 points. Many of those points were scored with line-mate and friend, Phil Kessel.
Upon hearing the news of Bozak re-signing, Kessel tweeted “My buddy is back leaf nation.”
Following the buy-out of Mikhail Grabovski, the decision to re-sign Bozak shows that the coaching staff and upper management have faith in the line of van Riemsdyk -Bozak- Kessel.
With Nazem Kadri playing well as a center, the re-signing of Bozak does not really show an improvement at one of the areas that Toronto has greatly needed- a number one center.
With Bozak showing chemistry with Kessel and Kadri showing chemistry with Lupul, there may not have been the desire to dramatically alter the line-up.
The price was less than Bozak wanted initially, and when the deal is over Bozak will be 32. The salary is about right for him, as he is filling the role of a number one center, whether people think he is good enough or not.
Losing both Bozak and Grabovski would have been a real step back for the Leafs, so signing Bozak should be seen as an attempt to stabilize the roster and prepare for another season.