NHL free agency: Paul Ranger signs with Maple Leafs, according to report

Claus Andersen

After more than three years out of the NHL, Paul Ranger is returning to the league.

Paul Ranger will make his NHL comeback with the Toronto Maple Leafs, according to Darren Dreger. The 29-year-old defenseman has signed a one-year, $1 million deal with the team, setting the stage for his return to the league.

Ranger has been out of the NHL since 2009-10, when he played eight games for the Tampa Bay Lightning. In the four seasons prior to that, Ranger had 17 goals and 73 assists. His career high came in 2008-09, when he scored 10 goals and added 21 assists.

After Ranger's short 2009-10 season, he stepped away from the sport. Some speculated that he had retired, but he put that theory to bed when he made a comeback with the Toronto Marlies in the AHL last season. There, the defenseman totaled 25 points in 51 games to fuel speculation of a NHL return for 2013-14.

There was talk that Ranger would return with the Edmonton Oilers after they hired Dallas Eakins, who coached Ranger with the Marlies. But Ranger has chosen to make the jump from the Maple Leafs' AHL affiliate to the big club and will return to the NHL in Toronto.

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