Maple Leafs sign NHL hits leader Matt Martin for four years

Maple Leafs General Manager Lou Lamoriello addresses the media on Toronto's current situation, free agency day and more.

Don Cherry will like this. Matt Martin has signed a four-year, $10-million contract with his hometown Toronto Maple Leafs.

The 27-year-old Windsor, Ont., native is coming off his best season as a pro, registering a career-high 10 goals, 19 points with the New York Islanders and led the league in hits with 365. He also had 11 fighting majors last season, while the Maple Leafs as a team dropped the gloves just 10 times.

Martin was a member of what was considered by many to be the best fourth line in hockey playing alongside Casey Cizikas and Cal Clutterbuck.

The 6-foot-3, 220-pound grinder has 42 goals, 46 assists and 680 penalty minutes in 438 career regular season games.

The Maple Leafs were expected to be one of the frontrunners for Steven Stamkos, but those dreams were shattered Wednesday when the sniper signed a new deal with the Tampa Bay Lightning. Once Stamkos was no longer an option, Maple Leafs general manager Lou Lamoriello and his staff figured Friday would be a relatively quiet day for them.

“We really weren’t in the market so to speak to do much,” Leafs told reporters in Toronto. “But you talk just to make sure you’re aware of what’s going on and if there’s something unique that comes about that can help you you have to be available to do that.

“We had interest in Steve Stamkos that did not work out.”

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