When the Toronto Maple Leafs traded for Conor Timmins, he was barely an NHL player. The Arizona Coyotes were going to waive the oft-injured defenseman, to try and get him to the minor leagues so that he could ramp up his game. After all, the 24-year-old had played just 105 total games since the end of the 2017-18 season.
Since joining the Maple Leafs, though, Timmins has been excellent. While there has still been the odd moment of rust (including a couple of egregious giveaways), the young defenseman has racked up 12 points in 17 games, including his first NHL goal. Playing just over 16 minutes a night, he has fit in exceedingly well in Toronto.
So well, in fact, that the Maple Leafs are now looking to extend him before he reaches restricted free agency this summer according to Chris Johnston on TSN’s Insider Trading. Timmins is currently on a two-year deal that carries a cap hit of $850K, and would need a qualifying offer of $997,500 for the Maple Leafs to retain his rights.
Critically, because he has played so few games because of injury, Timmins won’t be eligible for arbitration this summer. That takes away a lot of his leverage, and makes an extension more likely. The Maple Leafs can reward him with some multi-year security, and lock him into a reasonable cap hit through his remaining RFA years. They could even go longer, into his UFA seasons, though Timmins would be essentially betting against his own health at that point. With the kind of production he has shown so far, there would be a big payday down the road if he can stay on the ice regularly.