Maple Leafs sign Jay McClement, re-up Matt Frattin

Looks like it was Bob McKenzie who broke the news late Sunday afternoon…

McClement represents a very savvy signing by Brian Burke. Similar to last season’s major pick-up of David Steckel, Jay McClement is a checking centreman who has spent time with the Colorado Avalanche and St. Louis Blues. He is a darling with underlying numbers.

He has spent the better part of his NHL career playing very tough minutes as a checking centreman. His career faceoff percentage hinges somewhere between 51-52%, but what’s more impressive is the amount of time he spends taking draws in the defensive zone. These are his offensive zone start rates, in relation to the number of shifts he’s started in the defensive zone.

2009 – 33.2%
2010 – 41.2%
2011 – 39.1%
2012 – 34.3%

He’s faced some pretty tough competition as well. Picture him as the sort of player that Dave Steckel is, except slightly more offensive. He scored 10 goals last season and, until last season, he was usually good for 15 assists as well, usually being a 25-point guy in tough minutes.

While his Corsi Rel QoC last season was unimpressive at -.289, Colorado didn’t seem like they wanted to put him in the right spots. His Corsi Rel QoC, which measures quality of competition, was 1.210, 1.070, and 0.738 in the three seasons prior, so hopefully the Leafs can find the right spots for him to play. He’s been run over in relative Corsi and possession, worth noting.

McClement isn’t a first-line centre by any means, but he’s a very good depth guy, and the term, $1.5 AAV over two years, doesn’t set the team back should he not pan out in Toronto. This gives the Leafs two good checking centremen, which solidifies Tyler Bozak’s spot as the first line centreman next year, I figure.

Meanwhile, this nugget broke from James a few minutes after the McClement deal was “announced” by McKenzie:

I imagine this is a one-way deal. Frattin had some good NHLe’s last season [check our post on that from mid-June] and is probably good enough to be a third line winger in the NHL in a sheltered role. It’ll be interesting to see how the Leafs treat their depth lines after training camp, unless the Leafs plan to use Steckel a little bit more offensively with Frattin and, say, Nazem Kadri.

Frattin is one of the four major restricted free agents the Leafs needed to sign. Nik Kulemin, Cody Franson and Ben Scrivens represent the others. Ryan Hamilton and Jussi Rynnas, who should both play with the Toronto Marlies next season, were also signed to deals.

Details later.

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  • So if Burke is done this is how the Leafs appear to stack up for 2012-13:

    Van Reimsdyk-Grabovski-MacArthur

    Expect Connolly to be traded for a #5 D-man to compete for time on the third defensive pairing.

    Kadri and Colbourne to start in the AHL and be used as injury call ups .



    Sadly this team will not crack the top 8 in the Eastern Conference this year.
    Burke will resign at seasons end.