Toronto Maple Leafs: 1-Year Deals Heading Into 2022-23 (Part 2)by Dom Lunardo July 30, 2022 0 comments
The summer of 2022 will go down as the “1-year deal party” for the Toronto Maple Leafs and General Manager Kyle Dubas. In our previous article installment, we analyzed the signings of Adam Gaudette, Nicolas Aube-Kubel, and Jordie Benn, each to one-year contracts. These three players have been brought into the fold to hopefully bolster Toronto’s roster ahead of the 2022-23 NHL campaign.
This particular article will focus on three additional players who, you guessed it, are all signed on one-year deals. So, without further ado, let’s meet the cast slated to don the blue and white next season.
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First up on our list is Woodbridge, Ontario native Victor Mete. At the start of the free-agency period, Mete, and the Maple Leafs agreed to terms on a (team-friendly) one-year contract worth $750,000. So, after previous stops in Montreal and Ottawa, and still only 24 years of age, Mete gets an enormous opportunity to battle for a spot on Toronto’s opening night roster. As a player, Mete is an excellent skater, sees the ice well, and can certainly come in and be impactful (not to mention provide some much-needed depth) on Toronto’s bottom defensive pairing.
Last season in Ottawa saw Mete skate in 37 games. During that time span, he tallied seven assists to go along with a minus-19 rating in 14:37 worth of ice time. Although these numbers certainly don’t leap from the page, some underlying value comes with this signing. Like many of Dubas’ transactions (either trade, draft selection, or signing) in recent memory, the signing of Mete carries a low level of risk with a high ceiling. This is all you can ask for on a Leafs team that is right up against the salary cap. It will be fascinating to see how the “Mete experiment” runs its course in Toronto.
Standing in the on-deck circle is utility forward Pierre Engvall. This upcoming season will be Engvall’s third (on and off) with the Maple Leafs. While playing on one of hockey’s most famous franchises, the Ljungby, Sweden native has skated in 168 games with 30 goals and 62 points to his credit. As a player, Engvall has proven that he can be a serviceable middle/bottom-six forward. He’s big (6-foot-5, 215 pounds), possesses long, powerful strides, and is a superior penalty-killer. After scoring 15 goals last year, Engvall has already professed that he would love to eclipse the 20-goal plateau this time around. This would be music to the proverbial ears of die-hard Maple Leafs fans.
From a sheer contractual perspective, Engvall is back on a one-year, $2.25M deal. Although it is not one of those contracts that breaks the bank for a prospective club, this is a massive year for Engvall on so many fronts. A bad season could certainly put an end to his tenure in the blue and white. While a solid season could mean a multi-year extension in the near future. Does Engvall bet on himself and thrive with the pressure that comes with a one-year term? Or does his time in Toronto eek away with each passing day? Only time will tell, Leaf fans.
Rounding out our list is one of two new faces in Toronto’s crease heading into next season. His name is Ilya Samsonov. After yet another first-round exit, the Maple Leafs decided to go in a different direction at the goaltending position. This decision was further escalated after Jack Campbell signed a $25 million, 5-year contract with the Edmonton Oilers on day one of NHL free agency. As the Leafs embark on a new season, Samsonov’s number was called to mind the net alongside Matt Murray.
After signing a $1.8 million, one-year deal with the Leafs, Samsonov gets a chance at a fresh start in Toronto. From a sheer numerical perspective, the Magnitogorsk, Russia, native has only skated in 88 career NHL games. However, during those games, he has posted a (more than) respectable 52-22-8 record. In addition, he has also compiled a career 2.81 goals-against-average and a .902 save percentage. A former first-round draft pick, which is pretty rare for goaltenders, it will be fascinating to see how Samsonov will fare under the bright lights of Scotiabank Arena. So just how will this gamble pan out for Dubas and the Maple Leafs? As hockey fans, we can only wait and see.
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