Michael Bunting was not considered one of the Toronto Maple Leafs' superstars as his production did not compare with Auston Matthews, Mitchell Marner, William Nylander or John Tavares. However, he has been one of that team's most consistent players, and the Carolina Hurricanes have taken notice. They have signed the forward to a 3-year deal that has an average salary of $4.5 million.
— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) July 1, 2023
The Hurricanes have become an elite regular-season team, winning the Metropolitan Division both seasons. As a result, Bunting should fit right in with his new team. He has scored 23 goals in each of the last two seasons.
Bunting is a solidly built left wing who checks in at 6-0 and 192 pounds. He has been a dependable two-way forward for the Leafs, as he does a strong job on the defensive side of the ice as well as in the goal-scoring department. He was plus-27 in the 2021-22 season and he followed that up with a plus-21 rating last year.
The 28-year-old Bunting should be able to help the Hurricanes increase their offensive output. While head coach Rod Brind'Amour has a team that regularly locks down its opponents and prevents scoring opportunities, the Hurricanes are just middle of the pack when it comes to scoring. They averaged 3.20 goals per game last season, ranking 15th in that category.
Michael Bunting represents the second big move the Hurricanes made at the start of free agency. They also signed defenseman Dmitry Orlov, who had finished the season with the Boston Bruins. He had been with the Washington Capitals prior to joining the Bruins at the trade deadline.