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

Austin GreenCorrespondent IJuly 1, 2012

BUFFALO, NY - MARCH 14: Jay McClement #16 of the Colorado Avalanche skates against the Buffalo Sabres at the First Niagara Center on March 14, 2012 in Buffalo, New York. The Avalanche defeated the Sabres 5-4 in the shootout.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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.

TOR signs Jay McClement to to 2 year deal worth $3M.

— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) July 1, 2012

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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