The Toronto Maple Leafs continued to make small moves as we get closer to the 2015 NHL Draft. After re-signing Sam Carrick a couple of weeks ago, the Leafs announced two signings on Thursday. Andreas Johnson was signed to a three-year entry level contract and TJ Brennan was re-signed to a one-year deal.
The 20-year old Johnson was drafted in the seventh round (202nd overall) of the 2013 NHL Draft. After being named Rookie of the Year in the Swedish Hockey League for the 2013-14 season, he led his team, Frolunda, in goals with 22 this season. The total was the fifth higher in the SHL. He also won a Silver Medal at the 2014 World Junior Championship.
Brennan, 26, returned to the Leafs at the Trade Deadline this season from the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for Spencer Abbott. He had been with the Leafs previously before signing with the New York Islanders last off-season. Before even playing a game for the Islanders, he was dealt to the Blackhawks in the Nick Leddy trade. After being re-acquired, he finally played his first games for the Leafs, spending all of his time previously with the Toronto Marlies.
What Does It All Mean?
For Johnson, the contract certainly ups the chances that will cross the Atlantic and join the Marlies. However, according to Scott Wheeler at Pension Plan Puppets, he still might stay with Frolunda for one more season.
On Andreas Johnson: The signing doesn’t change fact that he’s probably staying with Frolunda next year. Good it’s out of the way though.
— Scott Wheeler (@scottcwheeler) June 4, 2015
For a seventh-rounder, Johnson has more than exceeded expectations. Whether or not he comes to Toronto this season is irrelevant. He can either play against men in Sweden or against players his age in the AHL. Whenever he does make it to the Leafs, he could be a valuable member of the top-six.
What the next year has in store for Brennan is a little bit more of a mystery.With Dion Phaneuf, Morgan Rielly, Jake Gardiner, Stephane Robidas and Roman Polak under contract, there might be an open space for Brennan. However, Tim Erixon is a restricted free-agent and could also fight for the spot if he’s re-signed. Of course, there’s the rumors surrounding Phaneuf and whether or not he’ll be back with the Leafs next season. A lot could change with the Leafs defense this off-season.
The Leafs still have several restricted free agents to sign. How soon will the Leafs be able to re-sign them, if at all?