Maple Leafs sign Joe Nieuwendyk

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Supporting Founder
Supporting Founder
Sep 7, 2003
Cape Coral, Florida
TORONTO (AP) - Unrestricted free agent center Joe Nieuwendyk signed with the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday night, the first major player acquisition by new general manager John Ferguson Jr.
Nieuwendyk, who turns 37 Wednesday, played with the Stanley Cup champion New Jersey Devils last season. It was the third Cup for Nieuwendyk, who made $5 million in 2002-03.

Rick Curran, Nieuwendyk's agent, said the Maple Leafs phoned him with a proposal late Tuesday which he passed along to Nieuwendyk.

"Joe quickly looked at it and accepted it," Curran said.

No terms were given.

The only free agent of note signed by the Maple Leafs before Ferguson's hiring on Aug. 29 was hard-nosed defenseman Bryan Marchment.

Curran said there had been few talks before Tuesday's offer led to the deal.

"It just happened," he said.

Nieuwendyk had 14 goals and 28 assists in 80 games with Devils last season and added three goals and six assists in 17 playoff games.

A solid two-way player, Nieuwendyk tried to play with a sore hip in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals against Ottawa. He missed all of the Stanley Cup finals.

Nieuwendyk will probably center the Maple Leafs' second line with captain Mats Sundin on the first.

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Joe is a good player, but the Leafs really need some defense to help Ed Belfour.

John Corn

The Coach / Supporter
Supporting Founder
Sep 6, 2003
North Canton, Ohio.
Congrats Leaf fans.

You needed the depth and this was a great depth move...

Well it gives them a ton of versatility and a lot of rather attractive lineup options (a powerplay of Antropov-Sundin-Mogilny is now feasible with a second unit of Roberts-Nieuwendyk-Nolan... not too shabby at all if you ask me)..

and it allows them to have a TON of balance throughout the lineup..

but their defence has not been addressed at all.... whcih is rather strange.

So, if they don't rectify the issues on the blueline.. this is a bad move.

If they can, it could pay dividends in the playoffs- especially in the event a guy like Sundin or Antropov goes down.
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