The Maple Leafs will be keeping one of their depth defensemen in the fold for a while yet as they announced that they’ve signed Teemu Kivihalme to a two-year, two-way contract. The deal will carry a $725K AAV which means the NHL salary for both seasons will be at the league minimum – $700K in 2020-21 and $750K in 2021-22.
The 25-year-old was actually drafted by Nashville back in 2013 (140th overall) but he never signed with them. Instead, after three seasons at Colorado College, he opted to turn pro in Finland and spent two years with Karpat of the SM-liiga. The second of those seasons saw him pick up 30 points in 60 games which got him on the radar for several NHL teams including Toronto as they signed him in May of 2019.
This season, Kivihalme played exclusively in the AHL with the Marlies, picking up four goals and 14 assists in 55 games. While those numbers don’t jump off the table by any means, he impressed enough in his own end to earn an invitation to Toronto’s ongoing training camp with a chance for him to earn a spot on their roster for the NHL’s return in August. If that doesn’t happen though, he’ll at least be armed with the security of a two-year deal, one that will see him become an unrestricted free agent at its expiration.