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Michael Bunting fires a warning shot at the Leafs ahead of his return to Toronto tonight


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Mike Armenti
December 30, 2023  (11:26)
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Ex-Leaf Michael Bunting returns to Toronto tonight for the first time since signing in Carolina
Photo credit: NHL

For the past couple of seasons, Michael Bunting had put his agitating skills to both good and bad use for the Toronto Maple Leafs. On one hand, he was one of the most disliked players around the league, which, as an agitator, means you're doing your job right. On the other hand, Bunting earned a bit of a bad reputation with the officials, which came back to bite the Leafs in the butt more times that fans could count.

Bunting entered this past summer without an extension in place, and when July 1st had hit, Bunting opted to depart Toronto for what he believed to be greener pastures in Carolina, signing a deal with the Canes that would run through the 2025-26 season, and which carries a $4.5M AAV.
Thus far, through 35 games, Bunting has amassed 24 points for the Hurricanes (7G, 17A) and has racked up 34 penalty minutes. It's safe to say that the more things change, the more they stay the same.
Tonight, Bunting will return to Toronto for the first time since signing with the Hurricanes. The Scarborough native expressed his excitement for his return to the media on Friday.
"I'm excited to play the old team, play some friends, and obviously that's hometown for me, so it's gonna be pretty cool to play them."

He also fired a bit of a warning shot at his former teammates, suggesting that the plan is to play his game and attempt to get under the skin of the opposing team. When asked whether he knew of ways to dig at his ex-teammates because of how familiar he is with so many of the guys, Bunting's reply was seemingly pretty devious.
"We'll find out."

Bunting had grown very close with Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner during his time in Toronto. They were his two most common linemates for much of his time as a Leaf, so I'm sure he knows of a few things that they dislike. It will be interesting to see how Sheldon Keefe plays the matchups with the luxury of the last line change tonight at home in Toronto.
POLL
30 DECEMBRE   |   1053 ANSWERS
Michael Bunting fires a warning shot at the Leafs ahead of his return to Toronto tonight

Do you think the Leafs made a mistake by allowing Michael Bunting to leave as a free agent last summer?

No, he needed to go49947.4 %
Yes, I liked him a lot and wish he had stayed42640.5 %
We won't know until the playoffs12812.2 %
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