Leafs sign 2020 draft pick Axel Rindell to two-year entry-level contract

After signing NCAA free agent Max Ellis earlier in the day, the Toronto Maple Leafs announced their second signing of the day by inking 2020 sixth-round draft pick Axel Rindell to a two-year entry-level contract with an average annual value of $838,750. Rindell will join the Toronto Marlies for the rest of the 2021/22 season on a professional try-out.

We’ve signed defenceman Axel Rindell to a future two-year contract.#LeafsForever
— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) April 8, 2022

Rindell, taken by the Leafs in 2020 as a twice undrafted prospect, is a right-handed offensive defenceman out of Finland. He broke out in the 2019/20 season while playing with Jukurit, scoring 22 points in 47 games on one of the weakest teams in Liiga, results good enough to entice Toronto to take a late-round swing on him.
Given that Rindell was drafted as a 20-year-old prospect in his third year of draft eligibility, the Maple Leafs only held his exclusive rights for two years, which were set to expire in June.
The signing does come as a slight surprise, though, as Rindell is coming off of what was a disastrous 2021/22 season for himself. He began the year remaining with Jukurit, the same team he had played for the previous two seasons, but got out to an awful start to the season. With just five assists in 16 games for the offensive defenceman and an abysmal -11 rating, Rindell was traded to Liiga contender Kärpät, who were looking for defensive depth on the right side.
Upon moving to Kärpät, things improved slightly for Rindell, but ultimately the year as a whole was still a disappointment. He finished the regular season with 12 points in 26 games with Kärpät, having missed some time due to an injury. When he w …

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Author: Kyle Cushman / The Leafs Nation

5 European Free Agent Forwards the Leafs should sign in 2022

Okay, no team is signing five European free agents in one offseason. There are still at least five forwards worthy of signing in my opinion, defence is a story for another day. I follow six European leagues, the Russian KHL, Swedish SHL, Finnish Liiga, Swiss NLA, German DEL, and Czech Extraliga. I look at u27 players, because the ELC system goes up to age 26 for (some) Europeans.
Since points are the most reliable and repeatable indicator of skill across leagues, I take players points per game and compare it to every FA who has signed out of that league since 2000. This allows me to quantify their point production in comparison to a group of players NHL teams have deemed worthy of a contract. This inherently builds in some of the biases of NHL teams, for example players 6’3″ or taller tend to drag down the average p/g because teams prefer to sign a depth player with size. Therefore I cannot hold the same expectation that an excellent winger like 5’8″ Kristian Tanus will sign as his teammate 6’3″ Joona Luoto did, despite being on pace to triple his point production at age 21.
Those leagues are in their 2nd Euro …

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Author: Earl Schwartz / The Leafs Nation

The Tigers signed Eduardo Rodriguez, the Blue Jays were apparently in the mix, and Carlos Correa might also sign in Detroit

Here’s the first big signing of the 2021 off-season.

The Detroit Tigers have dipped into the starting pitching market, coming to a four-year deal with lefty Eduardo Rodriguez worth $77 million. Rodriguez’s deal also includes an opt-out after his second season.
Robbie Ray and Steven Matz are looking at that contract and are salivating.
Rodriguez broke into the league with the Boston Red Sox in 2015 and has largely been a middle-of-the-rotation arm since. The best showing of his career came in 2019 when he posted a 3.81 ERA over the course of 34 starts, which was good enough to result in him finishing sixth in American League Cy Young voting.
After missing the entirety of the 2020 season due to complications from COVID-19, Rodriguez had an OK season for the Sox in 2021, putting up a 4.74 ERA over the course of 32 outings. That said, while his raw numbers aren’t great, Rodriguez put up very good peripheral numbers, including 10.6 strikeouts per nine innings, so the hope is that he can have better results playing in less of a hitter-friendly park.
According to Jon Heyman, the Blue Jays were in the mix for Rodriguez, but he opted for Detroit. That doesn’t tell us how serious …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

TLN Top 20 Leafs: #6 TJ Brodie

The Leafs signing TJ Brodie was heralded by many as the biggest achievement of that off-season. In signing him, Dubas addressed a major need on the blue-line, brought in a defenseman seemingly well-matched with Morgan Rielly, and made the team’s roster look immediately stronger.
And believe it or not, Brodie mostly lived up to those expectations. He was a solid, calm, consistent force on the ice who was almost invisible in the best way – whether he was suppressing shots from the Leafs opponents or quietly setting up plays, TJ Brodie made an impact.
It helps, of course, that he seems like the world’s nicest guy (in a quiet, humble, strong but silent type kind of way). By all accounts, the Leafs are getting what they’re paying for, and maybe more, in TJ Brodie. TLN staff agree, as everyone had him ranked somewhere in the 5th-7th slot. Brodie is undoubtedly one of the most valuable Leafs.
Five important stats

I can’t lie, I’m not a stats person when it comes to hockey. What I can tell you is that Brodie delivered bang for his buck as a defensive defenseman on the Leafs squad, and TLN’ …

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Author: Mer / The Leafs Nation

Undrafted and on a quest: Jeremy McKenna’s first pro season with the Toronto Marlies

Jeremy McKenna’s career was right in front of him. Signing a one-year contract with the Stockton Heat in 2019 after not getting drafted, the then 20-year-old was ready to start his pro career.
But it wasn’t everything he imagined.
Two days prior to the Heat’s season starting, the team assigned McKenna to the Kansas City Mavericks, the Calgary Flames’ ECHL affiliate. After being sent down, the 20-year-old decided it was best for him go back to the QMJHL and play his fourth and final year with the Moncton Wildcats.
Moncton had the second-best record in the league, and two of the top eight point-getters in the 2019-20 season. McKenna had finished his final season in Moncton leading the team in goals with 40, along with 42 assists in 57 games. He also spent three of his four seasons as an assistant captain of the Wildcats. Then, three days before the end of the QMHJL’s regular season, the remainder of the season and playoffs was cancelled.
Everything went on pause. There was no hockey, and really, there was nothing.
That was the case, until a year later, when McKenna signed a two-year AHL contract with the Toronto Marlies. There was still …

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

Erik Källgren is the dark horse on the Maple Leafs’ goaltending depth chart

The Leafs’ signing of Swedish goaltender Erik Källgren back in May came with little fanfare but he could prove to be a valuable addition to Toronto’s goaltending depth chart.
Set to turn 25-years-old in October, Källgren is signed for the next two seasons with an NHL league minimum cap hit of $750,000 and he will be a restricted free agent at the conclusion of his current contract, providing the Leafs with a cost-controlled goaltending option who has enjoyed success at the professional level.

We’ve signed goaltender Erik Källgren to a two-year, two-way contract. #LeafsForever
Details » https://t.co/vYvlTLePJo pic.twitter.com/WI264llpod
— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) May 19, 2021

Källgren signed with the Leafs fresh off the heels of an outstanding playoff performance for Växjö, putting up a 1.74 GAA and .930 SV% in 10 postseason games on the way to a Swedish Hockey League Championship. The Leafs would have watched Källgren’s performance closely while monitoring 2018 sixth-round pick Pontus Holmberg who earned Playoff MVP honors for his contributions to Växjö’s title run before earning a contract of his own with the Leafs.

The signing kind of flew under the radar but the Leafs …

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Author: Nick Richard / The Leafs Nation

Rumours: Bogosian and Foligno seem to be out, and expansion draft fallout

Last year the signing of Zach Bogosian was met with a lot of skepticism. He wasn’t expensive, he was coming off a Stanley Cup championship, but he’s a stay at home defenseman, and that generally doesn’t go over well, especially when he would be blocking the path of prospects like Rasmus Sandin and Timothy Liljegren, not to mention making it harder for Mikko Lehtonen to be an every day player in the NHL.
Well here we are a year later, and while I’m pretty sure Bogosian wasn’t anyone’s favourite Leaf, his hardnosed style of play and serviceable defending on the third pairing certainly earned him plenty of appreciators, and while fans still want Sandin and Liljegren, the safety net of having Bogosian still has a lot of appeal.
That’s why news like this isn’t ideal (from Terry Koshan):
The Leafs and Bogosian have talked about a new deal, but a source indicated the New York native is interested in “taking a peek” at offers in free agency.
“I would expect him to hit the open market,” the source said. “The expectations are that he will.”
The news comes following Bogosian’s concerns …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Wayne Simmonds gets a second chance with the Leafs

The signing of Wayne Simmonds on the opening day of free agency in 2020 was met in large part with excitement and anticipation by the Leafs faithful who had longed for the type of grit and physicality that had been absent from Toronto’s roster in recent years. The move wasn’t without it’s critics, however, with some voicing concerns about the aging Simmonds’ declining production and mounting injury history.
The Scarborough native wasted little time making his presence felt with the Leafs, dropping the gloves with Ben Chiarot to help spark a comeback victory over the Canadiens on opening night. The immediate returns on Kyle Dubas’ mandate to add leadership while making the Leafs a more difficult team to play against were encouraging and Simmonds appeared to be a perfect fit for what the Leafs’ lineup had been missing.

wayne simmonds trying to punch ben chiarot’s head directly off pic.twitter.com/ExAaqeTSbE
— dylan (@dylanfremlin) January 14, 2021

In addition to bringing that bite to the roster, Simmonds managed to lock down the net-front spot on head coach Sheldon Keefe’s top powerplay unit and even ascended to the second line with John Tavares and William Nylander for a stint. After …

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Author: Nick Richard / The Leafs Nation

Toronto Six announce they’ve signed Saroya Tinker

The Toronto Six announced the signing of Saroya Tinker this morning for Season 7 of the NWHL. In Season 6, both Tinker and the Toronto Six made their NWHL debuts at the Lake Placid tournament-style season back in January/February this year. The Oshawa native returns home to join the only Canadian team (so far) in the NWHL.
The bubble season in Lake Placid didn’t go totally according to plans, especially so for Tinker, whose first season with the Metropolitan Riveters was cut short due to COVID-19 exposures among the team. This exposure came at the exact same time as the Riveters were facing some turmoil for a different reason, which was the divided support of the misogynistic sports website, Barstool Sports. Tinker, who publicly expressed disgust with Barstool Sports, as I and many others within sports have done in the past, including TSN’s Gord Miller.
Tinker is also an active supporter of Black Girl Hockey Club, which is a community-focused space for Black women in hockey.
However, politics aren’t why Toronto Six fans should be excited about Tinker, at least not the only reason why. She comes with a high potential of becoming a star defender in the …

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Author: Ryan Hobart / The Leafs Nation

Welcome to the Toronto Maple Leafs: 2020 Top Pick Rodion Amirov Signs his Entry-Level Contract

 
The long rumoured signing of the Toronto Maple Leafs’ top pick in the 2020 draft has finally happened. Winger Rodion Amriov has put pen to paper and signed his entry-level contract this morning. His season in Russia came to an end recently as Tolpar Ufa was eliminated from the playoffs earlier this month. In 39 KHL games this season, the silky winger had 13 points – nine of which were goals – and looked more mature as the season went on, continuing to develop his game away from the puck. He also added three points in five games in the MHL playoffs after joining the junior club for the postseason.
 

We’ve signed forward Rodion Amirov to a three-year entry level contract for the 2021-22 season. #LeafsForever
Details » https://t.co/XMNUb1wVQ5 pic.twitter.com/Pvj7qWGcg9
— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) April 15, 2021

 
To give a quick summation of what Amirov brings to the table, he is one of the best skaters from the 2020 draft class when you take all factors into consideration from speed, edge work, agility and every other aspect of mobility. His ability to generate speed through the middle of the ice with crossovers and quick feet is impressive as it often …

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Author: Tony Ferrari / The Leafs Nation