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One of the Leafs’ most recent signing isn’t even guaranteed to play hockey again
Credit: Photo by Sam Hodde/Getty Images

If there’s one thing that’s certain year after year, it’s that the Leafs are active when the free agent market opens.

Every year, they seem to be one of the most active team. 2024 was no exception as Toronto signed Chris Tanev, Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Jani Hakanpää and Anthony Stolarz.

The team also extended Max Domi’s contract less than 24 hours before the free agent market opened.

Obviously, the signings remain strange. Firstly, Tanev (34) signed a six-year contract (!). This pact will take him to age 40. I understand that he’s a defensive defenseman who fits perfectly into what the Leafs are looking for, but…

Then there’s Oliver Ekman-Larsson, who isn’t young anymore either. And finally, Hakanpää, a six-foot-seven guy who, on paper, is a good little signing (2 years/$3 million). The problem with the Finnish defenseman: there’s a chance he’ll never play hockey again.

That’s what Steve Simmons wrote in a piece published on Toronto Sun.

Doctors have confirmed that he can be signed, but apparently his knee is in poor condition.

He doesn’t have much cartilage left in the knee. In any case, according to Simmons, if he does play again, it would surprise many people who have been around the player over the past few seasons. Two years ago, he was playing 18 minutes a game for the Stars. In 2024, he’s likely to give proud service to the long-term injured list…

I understand that the doctors gave the go-ahead for the athlete to sign a contract, but I don’t think Brad Treliving has done his homework any more than he has to. And giving him a two-year contract is probably the worst mistake in this story. At the very least, he could have given him a one-year deal, couldn’t he? In any case, we’ll know more about his health in the fall, confirmed Simmons.

In short, the organization, which is considering removing John Tavares’ “C” as well, continues to make headlines for all the wrong reasons. Either they’re signing or acquiring old defensemen at the end of their careers instead of acquiring a true number-one defenseman, or they’re signing guys to enjoy the warm Robidas Island sun… #Klingberg

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