The Toronto Maple Leafs have just signed one of their last two remaining restricted free agents.
According to an official report from the Toronto Maple Leafs Department of Public Relations, the Maple Leafs have officially signed restricted free agent forward Andreas Johnsson to a one year contract. According to the report Johnsson accepted his qualifying offer from the Maple Leafs, an offer that will put him on a one year contract that carries a National Hockey League salary of $787,500.
Some might be somewhat surprised to learn that Johnsson would sign such a deal after such a strong performance in the American Hockey League as a member of the Toronto Marlies last season, but obviously Johnsson was content to sign it. The reason this will raise some eyebrows is that the $787,500 he will earn in NHL salary will not be guaranteed because this will be a two way deal for Johnsson. This is an indication that the Leafs continue to intend to use him at the American Hockey League level where he is likely to earn significantly less than his NHL salary. That being said though the Leafs have not disclosed the American Hokey League salary associated with his current contract so I do not know that to be a certainty, although again it is very likely.
Johnsson is coming off a tremendous all around season, both at the National Hockey League level and the American Hockey League level. The former 7th round pick appeared in just 9 regular season games for the Maple Leafs last season, recording 2 goals and 1 assist for 3 points over that stretch, and he also added a goal during the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs when he helped the Leafs beat the Boston Bruins in Game 5 of their first round playoff series. At the American Hockey League level he was named an AHL All-Star, albeit due to an injury replacement, and after the Leafs were eliminated from the playoffs he returned to the American Hockey League to help the Marlies with the Calder Cup.
After going back down Johnsson would lead all players in points produced and as a result he was awarded the Jack Butterfield trophy, the Calder Cup's version of the Conn Smythe trophy. So not only did Johnsson have a strong for the Leafs but he was also named a the playoffs most valuable player during his time with the Marlies, pretty good for just one year in the life of a 7th round draft pick. It's for those reasons that some are surprised to see Johnsson and his representation not push for a one way contract. However given the sheer number of talented forwards the Leafs have in their line up at this time Toronoto Maple Leafs general maanger Kyle Dubas may have made it clear to Johnsson that no better offer would be forthcoming from the Maple Leafs. Johnsson will almost certainly see more time at the NHL level this time around and a short term deal like this could potentially help him earn additionally money in the very near future if he plays well.