The Leafs announced today that they have re-signed restricted free agent forwards Andreas Johnsson and Kasperi Kapanen to 4 and 3 year deals, respectively.
Kapanen has signed a three-year extension ($3.2 million average annual value) while Johnsson has signed a four-year extension that carries an average annual value of $3.4 million. #LeafsForever https://t.co/JEmVxNmYQP
— Leafs PR (@LeafsPR) June 28, 2019
Both players just finished their first full NHL seasons, and what each player did should be considered a massive success.
With identical 20-goal totals, and almost identical 23 (Johnsson), and 24 (Kapanen) assist totals, they both proved to be valuable depth players that could grow into larger roles as they develop over the next few years.
These signings should be considered good news for the Leafs, as both were prime candidates for offer sheets (but maybe that’s just this authors opinion). The offer sheet compensation structure this year would have seen a return of a lowly 2nd round pick for any player that signed a deal of approximately 2.12M to 4.2M per season. A team could have gambled on that type of financial over payment, especially for a player as young as Kapanen, and hoped that they grew into the deal. Meanwhile, even if the Leafs decided to match that offer, it would only make their current cap crunch that much more difficult to navigate. In short, getting both players locked in before the start of free agency was a must.
Onto the topic that I honestly don’t want to include here, because this should be about these players and not Mitch Marsha….. I mean Marner!!
Where are they in consideration to the NHL salary cap.
Simply put, the Leafs have 11 forwards, 6 defenders, and 2 goalies that dressed for at least 1 game during the 2018-19 season locked in for next season. That includes players such as Justin Holl, Nicolas Petan, and Calle Rosen, who played a combined 20 games for the big club. It does not include Andreas Borgman, who played 48 games for the Leafs during the 2017-18 season, or players that are believed to be NHL, or nearly NHL ready, such as Ilya Mikeyev, Teemu Kivihalme, Mason Marchment, Jeremy Bracco, Timothy Liljegren, or Rasmus Sandin.
This also doesn’t include last seasons team points leader, Mitch Marner.
For clarity sake, if you include Andreas Borgman and Ilya Mikeyev, bringing the roster to 21 players, and place Nathan Horton on LTIR, then the Leafs are left with approximately 9.8M to re-sign Marner, as well as add another player to reach the 23 man roster for the start of the season.
Things are getting tight, but this isn’t a dire situation for the club (unless you actually believe they’ll match this outlandish 13M offer sheet that has been rumoured). A couple of small moves can get this team under the cap, and while I’m not sure if they’ll be better than they were last year, they’ll have retained all of their future trade chips so they can act if the right deal comes up.
For now, let’s appreciate what the Leafs do have under contract, and that’s two players that are young, fast, skilled, and happy to be Toronto Maple Leafs!!
Welcome back Andreas and Kasperi, on behalf of Leafs Nation, we’re happy to have you!!
Wouldn’t wanna play anywhere else in the world. Love you guys. Cheers pic.twitter.com/YfAtyEzn72
— Kasperi Kapanen (@kasperikapanen1) June 28, 2019