The Toronto Maple Leafs announced the signing of 4 players to entry level contracts today. Pierre Engvall, Jesper Lindgren, Par Lindholm and Igor Ozhiganov will all play within the Maple Leafs organization for at least a year.
The @MapleLeafs have signed Pierre Engvall to a two-year entry level contract, Jesper Lindgren to a three-year entry level contract, Pär Lindholm to a one-year entry level contract and Igor Ozhiganov to a one-year entry level contract. #TMLtalk
— Leafs PR (@LeafsPR) May 17, 2018
Pierre Engvall (2 year ELC) played in Swedens top league this season and posted an impressive 7 goals and 20 points in 31 games. After scoring 1 goal in 2 playoff games he then joined the Toronto Marlies for the remainder of their regular season, and is still with them as they wait to start their 3rd round series. With 7 goals and 15pts in 18 regular season and playoff games combined, he’s had a terrific start to his North American professional career. The Maple Leafs official site has him standing at a whopping 6’5” and weighing 196lbs. He’s a big boy, and at just 21 years old he still has some room to fill out. Sometimes teams hit gold in the later rounds of the draft and that could be exactly what the Leafs did with Engvall in the 7th round of the 2014 draft.
Jesper Lindgren (3 year ELC) went a little higher in his draft, #95 overall, 4th round, but is as small as Engvall is big. 6’ means he isn’t short, but he’s listed at just 165lbs, very slight for a defender. When a blueliner is that size it never surprises to find out he is known more for carrying the puck, as well as for his offense, than his bruising play. Jesper is with the AHL Toronto Marlies at the moment as well and is still considered a project. His ceiling is high, so here’s hoping he reaches it.
Par Lindholm (1 year ELC) will bolster the Leafs centre depth and we should all be thankful for that. He finished 4th in the SHL in points this year with 47 points in 49 games. Only 5 players finished at, or above, a point per game in that league (minimum 30 games played) this season, which makes his 0.96PPG pace seem even more impressive. He’ll have just turned 27 by the time the season starts but there is still reason to be excited here. It seems that the Leafs have landed themselves a serviceable centreman that multiple other NHL teams were also chasing. Job well done.
The worst kept secret in the NHL is the signing of Igor Ozhiganov (1 year ELC). Former teammate of Nikita Zaitsev, Ozhiganov has been rumoured to be on his way to Toronto for about a year now. At 6’2”, 214lbs, Igor is a big man and he likes to throw his weight around a little. He has a big shot from the point and moves fairly well on top of that, so he’s basically bringing every skill set the Leafs are missing on their blueline at the moment. At 25 years old he may be ready to jump right into the NHL, it will all depend on how he adapts to the smaller ice surface. I’m excited about this signing, if for no other reason than having more depth on the right side of the ice. My hope is he can play top 4 minutes and help on the penalty kill. If not then it’s simply a nothing ventured/nothing gained situation.
For now these are depth players, but this makes you wonder about the likes of Connor Carrick and Josh Leivo. These players have been pinned to the press box for a while now, is it signings like Lindholm and Ozhiganov that will allow the Leafs to give them a fresh start elsewhere?
I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.