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Could Maple Leafs’ Sign Evan Rodrigues & Miles Wood as UFAs?

The Toronto Maple Leafs will try to flesh out its roster with UFAs. Would Evan Rodrigues and Miles Wood be good left-wing candidates?

The Toronto Maple Leafs are preparing for the upcoming free agency period, there are a couple of intriguing left-wing targets out there. Could the two players addressed here fulfill the needs for secondary scoring and a competitive edge for the team?

The specific question I’m taking up in this post is whether the Maple Leafs should go after either one of (or both of) Even Rodrigues or Miles Wood as free-agent signings for the upcoming season. To do so, I’ll share the insights from a recent episode of The Hockey Writers Maple Leafs Lounge, where Maple Leafs’ writers Peter Baracchini and Jim Parsons talk about potential unrestricted free agent (UFA) signings.

In this case, Baracchini makes a case why either or both Evan Rodrigues and Miles Wood might be wise targets for the Maple Leafs to sign as UFAs.

The Case for Evan Rodrigues as a UFA Signing

The case for Toronto-born Evan Rodrigues is simple. He’s a consistent secondary scorer. Most Maple Leafs’ fans recall that Rodrigues had a brief stint with the team in the past. However, due to circumstances at the time, he didn’t receive a qualifying offer. He eventually signed with the Pittsburgh Penguins.

That’s when Rodrigues’ production began to increase. In fact, over the last few seasons, his scoring has been noteworthy. As a bottom-six forward (usually) he’s averaged around 40 points. Because he has the ability to provide consistent secondary scoring, that’s exactly why the Maple Leafs might jump at the chance to sign him. He would complement their top-line firepower.

Rodrigues brings a competitive edge and work ethic to the ice. In that, he’s similar to Alexander Kerfoot. However, he has the potential to bring an extra level of consistency to his offensive output.

As far as scoring goes, during the 2021-22 season with the Penguins, Rodrigues played 82 games. He scored 19 goals and added 24 assists (for a total of 43 points). He also contributed three power-play goals and seven game-winners. During the 2022-23 season, he played for the Colorado Avalanche. In 69 games, he scored 16 goals and added 23 assists (for 39 points).

He’d bring secondary scoring to the Maple Leafs if he were signed.

Related: Maple Leafs Could Break Up Core 4 With a Toffoli Deal

The Case for Miles Wood as a UFA Signing

The attraction of Miles Wood as a UFA target is that he’d bring speed, a strong work ethic, and physicality to the team. Wood is known for his speed and relentless forechecking. In those two areas, he brings a unique set of skills to the table.

While Wood has had his fair share of injuries, when he’s healthy he’s an impactful player. Despite not having played a full 82-game season in recent years, Wood still managed to contribute 25 to 27 points annually to the New Jersey Devils. (It’s the only NHL team he’s played for.)

Wood has the ability to score goals and be a factor in the forecheck. He would add a much-needed competitive edge to the Maple Leafs’ lineup. During the playoffs, the Maple Leafs seemed to lack a player who would consistently display a level of tenacity. That in itself would make Wood an enticing option to address that void.

Last season with New Jersey, Wood scored 13 goals and added 14 assists (for 27 points) in 76 games.

Related: Should the Maple Leafs Target Lars Eller as a Free Agent?

Both Rodrigues and Wood Would Be Strong on the Left-Wing

The Maple Leafs need to bolster their left-wing depth. Both Rodrigues and Wood possess the qualities needed to fill this role effectively. But they are different players.

Rodrigues would generate secondary scoring and provide consistency. Wood would bring speed, a work ethic, and physicality to the team. In different ways, both would enhance the team’s offensive capabilities. Both players would contribute to the scoresheet and also inject energy and competitiveness into the lineup.

The Bottom Line

As the Maple Leafs prepare to fill out its roster with effective free agents, two areas the team must fill are secondary scoring and adding a competitive edge on the left wing. As Baracchini notes, both Rodrigues and Wood emerge as ideal candidates who can fulfill these requirements.

If the team could add one or two of these players to its roster, it could enhance its offensive depth and inject much-needed energy. Those were two things lacking during the team’s too-short playoff run.

Related: Maple Leafs Quick Hits: Woll, Orlov & Tavares



  1. gfinale

    June 25, 2023 at 4:02 am

    Shuffling the deck in the bottom 6 will do nothing as should have been abundantly clear 3 years ago. The Leafs never got more than 2 goals in the 5 games of the second round. Knies, Bunting, Kerfoot, O’Rielly, Lafferty and Gustavsson got the 6 goals in the first 3 games. The non-Corpse 4 did more than their part! Just look at the following to wake up and realize what needs to be changed…

    Matthews 0 goals 2 assists in 5 games
    Marner 1 goal 2 assists in 5 games
    Nylander 2 goals, 1 assists in 5 games
    Tavares 1 assist too late in the last game

    • gfinale

      June 25, 2023 at 4:12 am

      What really needs to be done will never appear by this writer.

  2. Steve, Toronto

    June 25, 2023 at 6:17 am

    Is this article intended to be funny?

    Evan Rodrigues is a 29 year old right shot centre and a career minus 23 player. How exactly does this make him the ideal candidate to fill our left wing hole?

    Miles Wood registers a single point every 4 games and is a whopping career minus 63. He might actually be even worse than Zach Aston Reese who absolutely needs to go.

    Perhaps you should do a little of your own research rather than relying on the artcles and opinions of others to write yours.

  3. Afp1961

    June 25, 2023 at 12:14 pm

    With only a handful of signed fwds no doubt the team needs to sign several bottom six players assuming none of the core four get moved. Both Rodrigues and woods woukd be added pieces but it all depends on cap hit. They woukd be upgrades on ZAR types but Kampf and Acciari are still out there as possibilities.

    With 19m after buying out Murray treliving will need to be tactful in prioritizing his team build.

  4. Pingback: Why Carson Soucy Would Be a Good Maple Leafs' Pickup

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