The Maple Leafs didn't add anyone in the first two hours of NHL free agency, but they did lose a hard-working centre.
Tim Brent, the team's Bill Masterton Trophy nominee and one of their best faceoff men and penalty killers, took a two-year deal from the Carolina Hurricanes at a reported $750,000 U.S. a year. Brent had 20 points in 79 games in a career year during 2010-11.
"We have made it clear that Tim would like to remain in Toronto to improve upon last year's strong season," agent Pat Morris told QMI Agency earlier this week when indicating Brent would likely leave.
The Leafs remaining notable UFAs are forwards Fredrik Sjostrom, Darryl Boyce, Joey Crabb and Group VI Christian Hanson. Sjostrom and Hanson are likely gone.
Vice-president Dave Nonis and senior advisor Cliff Fletcher made a presentation to Brad Richards' agents earlier in the day, but many clubs are in pursuit of the star centre. With more than $18 million to spend to bring back restricted free agents such as defenceman Luke Schenn and forward Tyler Bozak, it is believed Toronto will also pursue UFA centres Michal Handzus and Tim Connolly if it falls out of the bidding for Richards.