A familiar face will be sticking around with the Toronto Maple Leafs, with the club announcing forward and current RFA Pierre Engvall has been re-signed on a one-year deal. The team did not announce the financial terms of the contract, however The Athletic’s James Mirtle reports the contract is worth $2.25MM for this season. Engvall’s extension gives him a $1MM raise on the two-year, $2.5MM contract that had just expired, which carried an AAV of $1.25MM. The contract also means that both sides avoid arbitration, with the deadline for player-elected salary arbitration coming today and the club-elected deadline coming tomorrow. The contract leaves Engvall an UFA after this season.
The Swedish forward earned his raise this past season, setting career-highs in games played (78), goals (15), assists (20), and points (35), all marking substantial improvements on his previous bests. Not an overly physical player, Engvall’s size, listed at 6’5″ and 214 pounds, does allow him to use his body to create space for himself and get in position to help develop plays. Now established as a legitimate secondary-scoring threat for Toronto, Engvall can use this upcoming season to repeat and build on his 2021-22 to vault him into a longer-term contract in the free agent market next offseason as a 27-year-old.
The addition of this contract projects to put Toronto nearly $1.5MM over the salary cap ceiling (a 10% overage permissible in the offseason), but still represents a positive outcome for the organization. After Engvall’s breakout season, it was certainly possible that an arbitration could award the forward $3MM or perhaps as much as even $3.5MM for his efforts. Though that outcome was not guaranteed, it is a risk teams take when they head to arbitration, and likely the reason the team chose not to qualify forward Ondrej Kase, who is now a member of the Carolina Hurricanes. Unfortunately for the Maple Leafs, they are still not done with their RFA contracts, young defenseman Rasmus Sandin needing a new deal, although not eligible for arbitration himself.