The Toronto Maple Leafs will have another cheap roster player next season, as the team announced that Andreas Johnsson has accepted his qualifying offer and will re-sign. The deal will be a one-year two-way contract worth $788K in the NHL.
Johnsson, 23, will bet on himself by accepting the one-year deal to prove he can make an impact at the highest level. The seventh-round pick has impressed since coming to North America, including a point-per-game season and playoff MVP last year in the AHL. Johnsson led the Toronto Marlies to the Calder Cup with 24 points in 16 playoff games following a short stint with the Maple Leafs. After playing in nine games in the regular season, Johnsson played in all six of Toronto’s first-round playoff series against the Boston Bruins. His quickness and two-way ability have made him a sure bet for the Maple Leafs next season, and his offensive upside could lead to a substantial raise next summer.
If Johnsson gets regular time in the Maple Leafs’ top nine—which given his natural fit on the left side is a good bet—he could produce some impressive offensive numbers and put himself in a position for a big raise. He’ll be arbitration eligible in 2019, and could prove a necessity for Toronto moving forward. Still, taking a deal like this basically mitigates any risk for the Maple Leafs. If Johnsson performs and produces big offensive numbers, they received that production at a bargain. If he struggles, they can offer him another inexpensive deal and hope he takes the next step.