NHL Free-Agent Signings 2012: Maple Leafs and Jay McClement Agree to Deal

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NHL Free-Agent Signings 2012: Maple Leafs and Jay McClement Agree to Deal
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

The Toronto Maple Leafs have made an early splash in the free-agency period, landing center Jay McClement, according to Bob McKenzie of TSN.

This is an excellent addition for Toronto, who desperately needed some fresh blood after finishing fourth in the Northeast Division with a 35-37-10 record. It was another disappointing season for the storied franchise, whose last playoff appearance came in the 2003-04 season.

McClement will look to lead them back to the postseason, and with his varied skill set, he should have a solid impact on the Maple Leafs.

The 29-year-old was the third-line center for the Colorado Avalanche most of last season, scoring 10 goals and dishing out seven assists. Those numbers aren't particularly striking, but with his faceoff and penalty-killing abilities, it's easy to see why he was highly coveted this offseason.

McClement won 51.3 percent of his faceoffs and was a major reason why the Avs improved from 30th (76.1 percent) to 12th (83 percent) in penalty killing this season. Look for him to have a similar impact on the Maple Leafs, who finished 28th in the league this year with a 77.3 penalty kill percentage.

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