The Toronto Maple Leafs signed forward Pierre Engvall to a two-year contract extension Wednesday, paying the towering Swede $1.25 million per season for each of the next two campaigns. The contract kicks in at the expiry of the entry-level deal that pays him $925,000 in 2019-20.
The 6’5 rookie has recorded 14 points in 35 games this season, but his presence has been felt beyond the scoresheet. Engvall’s size, combined with a frankly stunning-at-times quickness and agility, has been an asset in a bottom-six forward group that sorely lacked a physical element when he was called up in November. He’s been a solid plug-and-play guy for coach Sheldon Keefe, who uses him on the wing and down the middle of the ice while also trusting Engvall with over a minute of penalty-killing duties a night. With Engvall on the ice at 5v5, the Leafs have controlled 51.35% of the shot attempts and 51.59% of the expected goals, both respectable marks.
The contract is a bargain for the Leafs, as it had to be given their salary cap structure. They lock up a guy who looks like he can fill a role for two of his prime years before he has a chance to make a real impact in the league, which is a tidy bit of work for general manager Kyle Dubas. The cap implications are negligible considering how well Engvall’s game has translated to the NHL, and they can revisit the situation after two more competitive seasons when the player is still a restricted free agent.
On Engvall’s side, he can establish himself as a big man with some skill on a club that, this season’s struggles notwithstanding, should compete for a Stanley Cup both years of the contract. If he’s successful, he could triple or quadruple his salary in 2022 given the horniness of the average NHL GM for players with his combo of size and skating, and he’ll still be a year from unrestricted free agency.
A quick glance at contract comparables on CapFriendly definitely shows a list of Some Guys:
I feel pretty good about Pierre Engvall performing near the top of that list over the next two seasons.
The Leafs have already gotten excellent value from a seventh-round selection in 2014 simply by virtue of the player making the league and contributing, and it appears they’ll continue to get value for two more seasons. Pierre Engvall signed early, signed safe, and set himself up with a nice situation for his prime years. Absolutely no necks were stuck out, or harmed, in this process.
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