Nick Ritchie is off to Canada.
The winger is joining the Toronto Maple Leafs on a two-year deal that will carry a $2.5 million annual cap hit, according to SportsNet’s Elliotte Friedman.
Ritchie was a restricted free agent this offseason, but the Boston Bruins elected not to give him a qualifying offer, thus making him unrestricted. He reportedly had a pretty hot market, with the New York Rangers also said to be interested in him, but the Leafs evidently made a more compelling offer.
The winner of the 2021 NESN 7th Player Award, Ritchie was a middle-six grinder for the Bruins, finishing this past season with 15 goals and 11 assists. He also was the only Bruin to play in all 56 games this year.
Ritchie arrived in Boston at the 2020 NHL Trade Deadline in a 1-for-1 deal with the Anaheim Ducks. Danton Heinen went to Anaheim in the trade, and he too had a similar path to Ritchie. A restricted free agent this offseason, the Ducks did not qualify Heinen and he became a UFA, ultimately signing with the Pittsburgh Penguins.
The Bruins also acquired Ondrej Kase from the Ducks at that deadline, and he too was not qualified by the Bruins and reportedly is joining the Leafs.