The Toronto Maple Leafs have prevented three of their players from becoming free agents. All three are young players, but what do the signings really say for their future with the team?
Petter Granberg and Tim Erixon have been signed new one-year deals. New Leaf Zach Hyman signed a two-year entry-level deal. Erixon will be paid $600,000, while cap website General Fanager estimates Granberg’s salary will be $840,00 and Hyman’s cap hit to be $925,000 as that is the highest the salary can be.
The Leafs acquired Hyman last week in a deal with the Florida Panthers in exchange for Greg McKegg after it was revealed that Hyman would not sign with Florida. It was expected that a deal would be made sooner rather than later as the Leafs only had until August 15 to sign him before he became an unrestricted free agent. He will be expected to challenge for a roster spot in training camp. However, it might be best for him to play with the Toronto Marlies in order to develop chemisty with the Leafs other prospects.
Where Do Granberg & Erixon Fit?
With Granberg and Erixon, it’s a little more complicated. With the way the defense stands now, neither of them really fit in the top six. Of course, if Dion Phaneuf is traded, a spot would open up for one of them.
Granberg has fallen a bit after seemingly being on the cusp of being a regular contributor to the Leafs a season ago.. He has played eight games with the team, seven of them last season. He has yet to register a point with the Leafs. He suffered an injury in off-season training and will probably miss at least the first month of the 2015-16 season. He has obviously slipped down the depth chart as Stuart Percy has overtaken him. With only a one-year deal, he’ll have to prove himself if the Leafs are to keep him any longer.
Erixon was picked up off of waivers from the Chicago Blackhawks late in the season and appeared in 15 games with Toronto. He scored one goal in that time. His one-year contact is less of a slight. 15 games is not much of a sample size, especially with the way the Leafs were playing. If there is a roster spot for him, he’ll get more of a chance to show what he can do. With the way he has been moving around the league since he was drafted, he should be more than a little motivated to give the Leafs a reason to keep him around longer.