Sunday: The Toronto Sun’s Terry Korshan reports that Dubas confirmed the Johnsson contract is nearly done. “They’re right at the finish line, we just have to punch them across, which will be nice,” said Dubas (via The Athletic’s Jonas Siegel).
Saturday: With news of the Toronto Maple Leafs closing in on a contract with restricted free agent forward Kasperi Kapanen, TSN’s Darren Dreger now reports that the Maple Leafs are also close to signing restricted free agent forward Andreas Johnsson to a four-year extension somewhere between $3.25MM and $3.5MM.
While the team has a number of issues to deal with, namely trying to work on a long-term deal with restricted free agent Mitch Marner, the team seems to be proactive in working out deals with both Kapanen and Johnsson, both who have proven to be key top-six wingers for the team this season. After two successful seasons with the Toronto Marlies, the 24-year-old broke out with a 20-goal, 43-point season this year. There also was plenty of discussion that both Johnsson and Kapanen could be prime candidates for other teams to sign to offer sheets, but it looks like both players were more interested in staying in the fold in Toronto.
With cap room being a significant issue, there was plenty of talk that Johnsson or Kapanen could be used as trade bait to eventually send off some cap room. However, the Maple Leafs did free up some of that cap room when they traded away Patrick Marleau and his $6.25MM contract to Carolina earlier today and instead of one of their young restricted free agents, sent a condictional first-rounder to Carolina instead. With Marleau’s contract off the books, that money can now be used to sign both Kapanen and Johnsson, although both deals could be held up until they can sign Marner. The team still will likely have to move other contracts with rumors suggesting the team is considering shipping out forwards Connor Brown and possibly even center Nazem Kadri, in order to get all three under contract and that doesn’t even factor the team’s hope they can still sign unrestricted free agent defenseman Jake Gardiner to an extension.