July 31: The Leafs have signed Menell to a one-year, two-way contract, per CapFriendly. It pays $750,000 at the NHL level and $400,000 at the AHL level.
July 28: The Toronto Maple Leafs have sent a conditional seventh-round pick to the Minnesota Wild for the rights to Brennan Menell, who spent last season in the KHL. Chris Johnston of Sportsnet reports that if Menell plays 30 games for the Maple Leafs in 2021-22, the Wild will receive the 2022 seventh-round pick.
Menell, 24, is an unsigned restricted free agent that the Maple Leafs will have to convince to return to North America. He scored 38 points in 47 games during his year in Minsk, continuing a history of elite production outside of the NHL. The right-handed defenseman led all AHL defensemen with 47 assists in 57 games during the 2019-20 season, resulting in a First All-Star Team selection.
Earlier this offseason, Michael Russo of The Athletic reported that the Wild were trying to sign Menell, but if they’ve traded him now perhaps those negotiations didn’t go anywhere. The Maple Leafs face the same challenge, especially given how much success he found in the KHL. There’s no guarantee of playing time in Toronto, though the team has been looking for an answer to their top powerplay. If they believe Menell could perhaps fill that role, it’s quite an incentive to return to North America.