To the surprise of many, the Toronto Maple Leafs made some other signings on July 1st apart John Tavares. Welcome to the Blue and White Adam Cracknell and Josh Jooris! The two forwards add veteran depth and an insurance policy for the Leafs who will have a lot of young players filling out their right wing position up and down their lineup.
A veteran of 213 NHL games, Josh Jooris is a solid mix of youth and experience to insulate the lineup for Toronto. He spent his last season split between the Carolina Hurricanes and the Pittsburgh penguins, as Pittsburgh picked him up for forward depth before their playoff run. He wont set the world on fire offensively (9 points in 40 games), but he can chip in on an energy line and adds versatility as a right winger who can play centre as well.
He cut his teeth in the OJHL with the Burlington Cougars, his hometown team, and scored 116 points in 50 games in his second season with them (26 goals, 90 assists). He moved to collegiate hockey after this season playing three seasons at Union College where he put up steady, solid numbers offensively. With extensive time spent in the AHL throughout his career, Jooris adapted to the major league style of play and now at 27 can be a valuable asset to the Toronto Maple Leafs.
It is likely he will be battling it out with Connor Brown and Kasperi Kapanen for a bottom-6 winger role. With stiff competition from two players who are becoming more and more comfortable in the NHL it seems that Jooris will begin the season in the AHL with the Toronto Marlies, or as the thirteenth forward for the Leafs. His job will be to set the example for the Marlies newest crop of players, protect them, and lead them hopefully to another Calder Cup winning season. As a depth add at $650,000 the Leafs get stability and a veteran option at right wing for a minimal cap hit – solid business.
With the addition of Adam Cracknell the Leafs add another forward who has a lot NHL and AHL experience to their expanded roster. Cracknell, now 32 years old, is winding down in his NHL career. However, if we look at Rich Clune and what he has done with his time in the Toronto Marlies team, Cracknell could be a beneficial add for team depth and mentorship. At a minimal cap hit of $650,000 on a one-year deal, the Cracknell signing doesn’t have much of a downside for the Maple Leafs.
He only played five NHL games split between Dallas and New York last season, but did put up great numbers with Laval in the AHL scoring 48 points in 54 games. Cracknell has spent a lot of his career moving between extended AHL stints to NHL stretches but has not been able to find his offensive touch at the highest level. Like Jooris, Cracknell adds veteran depth to the right side of the ice for Toronto and can act as a mentor to the young players on the team. Cracknell can score at the AHL level, hopefully he can embrace the Marlies as an opportunity for his career to continue, and take on a Clune-esque level of cult stardom to his new teammates.