Barclay Goodrow Could Be a Fit For the Maple Leafs – The Hockey Writers – Toronto Maple Leafs

The New York Rangers put Barclay Goodrow on waivers yesterday in readiness for a buyout when he clears today. The forward was in the third year of a six-year pact with a cap hit of $3.641 million and his production had taken a massive drop to 12 points in the regular season. His six goals and eight points in 16 games in the postseason plus his defensive impact were not enough to stop the Rangers from calling it quits. New York will pay the buyout for six years at a $1.1 million cost. Could Goodrow be part of the solution in Toronto?

How Goodrow Earned His Six-Year Deal

Goodrow was one of the victims of the Tampa Bay Lightning cap crunch after the franchise won two Stanley Cups in a row. Knowing he couldn’t afford to keep him on the books, Tampa Bay’s general manager Julien BriseBois traded his rights to the Rangers who were able to sign the pending unrestricted free agent before he got to test the market.

By then, Goodrow had played eight seasons in the NHL and his career-high in points stood at only 24. However, it’s on the other side of the puck that he had the bigger impact, both at even strength and on the penalty kill on top of leading the Lightning in hits with 111 during the regular season. The Rangers signed him for six seasons and gave him a contract that increased his annual average salary by $2.7 million.

Goodrow’s point total was not overly enticing, but he had the experience of what it took to win the Stanley Cup and plenty of defensive upside which is just as important. He was the type of player who shines in the playoffs when the play is rougher and tighter.

How It Went With the Rangers

For the first two years of his new contract, Goodrow performed well enough, he passed the 30-point mark and the 10-goal mark as well. However, he wasn’t as prominent as he once was in the playoffs. In his first postseason in the Big Apple, he was limited to nine games by a lower-body injury and only got an assist as the Rangers fell in the Eastern Conference Final to the Lightning.

Barclay Goodrow New York Rangers
Barclay Goodrow, New York Rangers (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

In his second postseason with the Rangers, he played in all seven games as the New York outfit was eliminated from the playoffs in the first round by the New Jersey Devils. This was a particularly disappointing loss, considering the team’s GM Chris Drury had loaded up his team for the spring tournament acquiring Vladimir Tarasenko and Patrick Kane before the deadline.

Finally, this season, Goodrow saw his point production plummet and was hardly a factor in the Rangers’ season. Even though his postseason performance was better, after the Rangers’ conference final elimination, Drury was ready to make some changes, and he couldn’t afford to wait and see if Goodrow just had an off year.

What’s Next for Goodrow?

At 31, it’s a bit early to retire. Even though Goodrow has already won two Stanley Cups, he might want to pull a Corey Perry; take a league minimum deal for a year, and join a serious contender. That’s where the Toronto Maple Leafs come in. After yet another seven-game exit from the playoffs, the Maple Leafs’ brass has said there would be changes.

Furthermore, out of the 16 teams that took part in the playoffs, Toronto was one of the worst teams when it comes to the penalty kill with a 64.7% success rate. They were also 23rd in the regular season with a 76.9% success rate. Meanwhile, the Rangers, who were using Goodrow on their penalty-killing unit, were third in the league in the regular season (84.5%) and fifth in the playoffs (84.2%). This is an area that needs improvement and signing Goodrow to a team-friendly contract could go a long way toward achieving that goal.

Related: Maple Leafs Shouldn’t Pursue Patrik Laine Trade

Goodrow’s defensive acumen could definitely come in handy as well, just like his physicality. He’s no stranger to throwing big hits, and on a Toronto side that is often deemed “soft”. There’s also a chance that he had a bad season and can still bounce back and rediscover his scoring touch.

It wouldn’t be a shiny signing, fans wouldn’t think anything of it, but it would be a cheap one and one that addresses a glaring need. He may well receive a few offers and have his pick among them. If that is the case, the sooner the Maple Leafs reach out, the better.

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