Minor-league shuffle: What Keith Aucoin brings the organization
Over the weekend, there's been some fairly decent Leafs player movement. On Friday, of course, Nikolai Kulemin was re-signed a two-year deal. Leafs brass again negotiated a pretty stellar restricted free agency contract for a defensive winger coming off a dud season offensively.
Also Friday, Marcel Müller, one of the Marlies' high-scoring forwards last season, is heading to MoDo in Sweden next season. In haste to replace his third highest scorer with the minor-league affiliate, the Leafs went out Saturday and signed not-quite-a-journeyman veteran Keith Aucoin to a two-way deal that will pay Aucoin a league-minimum $650K at the NHL-level and a respectable $350K in the AHL.
Let's get one thing straight here: Aucoin isn't intended to solve any of the Leafs major problems. I do believe he was signed as an option to provide a replacement to Müller's 14 goal, 47 point season out at Ricoh. Aucoin has never really been in danger of being an NHL regular. His career-high in games is 38, and he scored 5 goals and 13 points.
However, he's always been an interesting puck-possession player at the NHL-level. It's usually in small minutes or easy minutes, but he isn't a player who is going to get killed territorially on a call-up. The only reason I'd be particularly wary of Aucoin in the NHL lineup is that it means the Leafs have exhausted all other options, which is a scary thought.