Maple Leafs Add Corson and Roberts
TORONTO (AP) _ The Toronto Maple Leafs added experience and toughness Tuesday, signing free-agent forwards Gary Roberts and Shayne Corson to multiyear contracts.
Roberts had 23 goals and 30 assists in 69 games with the Carolina Hurricanes last season. Corson had eight goals and 20 assists in 70 games with the Montreal Canadiens.
Roberts led the Hurricanes in power-play goals with 12 and finished third on the team in points and goals. He is the sixth player in NHL history to score 300 goals while collecting 2,000 penalty minutes.
Roberts said it was a hard decision to leave the Hurricanes, who gave him a second chance after he missed the 1996-97 season because of a neck injury.
``My career was over three years ago and I had the opportunity to play in Carolina where they treated me with nothing but respect,″ Roberts said at a news conference. ``I owe the Carolina Hurricanes a lot for how they took care of me for three years. It was a tough decision for me to leave there because of how good they were.″
Both Roberts and Corson have ties to the area. Roberts is from Toronto, while Corson is from Barrie, Ontario, about an hour north. Corson’s brother-in-law, Darcy Tucker, also plays for Toronto.
Reportedly, Toronto offered both players three-year contracts, with Roberts’ deal worth a total of $7.5 million.
Corson, who rejected a deal to stay in Montreal to join the Leafs, reportedly was offered a three-year contract worth $6 million.
``It’s been a dream of mine for a long time (to play for Toronto),″ Corson said.
Roberts has 13 years experience in the NHL, the first 10 with Calgary, the past three with Carolina. Over his career, he has 314 goals, 335 assists and 2,079 penalty minutes in 792 regular-season games.
Corson has 241 goals, 368 assists and 1,970 penalty minutes in 942 regular-season games with Montreal, Edmonton and St. Louis.