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Maple Leafs and Canadiens Target Wayne Simmonds in NHL Free Agency

The Buffalo Sabres have told forward Wayne Simmonds to land a deal before free agency and both the Maple Leafs and Canadiens are interested.

Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet is reporting on Tuesday that the Buffalo Sabres have given Wayne Simmonds the green light to go find a deal ahead of free agency on Friday. Simmonds is believed to be a player who will garner interest as a depth forward on the less expensive side and the Sabres — who actually still have interest in re-signing the player — are offering the opportunity that if he can find a team that wants him, he should try to beat the rush.

One of the teams that might be interested is the Toronto Maple Leafs. According to Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic the Leafs have said, “We would like to be incredibly hard to play against..” they added, “… that it is something that we would like to address through free agency or through trades that come up.” Leafs GM Kyle Dubas went so far as to say, “It is a priority of ours.”

The Leafs tried to re-sign Kyle Clifford but the forward was interested in testing the free agent market. As such, they have set their sights on a different target.

LeBrun added:

Hearing that the Maple Leafs have genuine interest in pending UFA winger Wayne Simmonds at the right price. They have him listed as a target once free agency opens Friday. Again, would need to be a reasonable contract for it to work. But Leafs have sincere interest there.

If the Leafs are out, it sounds like the Montreal Canadiens are in.

LeBrun said he believes that Habs GM Marc Bergevin likes what Simmonds brings and that he’s identified the forward as someone who can add power and character to his team. A smaller Canadiens roster could use the size. And, LeBrun adds the Canadiens can dangle power play time as an incentive.

Next: Ekman-Larsson Sets Deadline on Any Trade Out Arizona

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