The Toronto Maple Leafs have re-signed forward Nicholas Abruzzese to a two-year, two-way contract extension, per a team announcement Monday morning. The deal’s average annual value is $775K, and PuckPedia confirms the full breakdown of his contract:
2023-24: $775K NHL salary, $175K minors salary
2024-25: $775K NHL salary, $250K minors salary, $350K guaranteed salary
This is Abruzzese’s second NHL contract after signing a two-year entry-level pact with the Leafs in March last year. The 24-year-old was a restricted free agent, Toronto’s last remaining unsigned player of the type.
After spending two fruitful collegiate campaigns with Harvard, Abruzzese had a solid first full pro season last year. Toronto’s fourth-round pick in 2019 has also gotten a cup of coffee in the NHL over the previous year and a half, posting a goal and two assists in 11 games (including two assists in two games to finish the 2022-23 campaign). His AHL stats were strong, posting 16 goals and 48 points in 69 games with the Toronto Marlies before going on a tear in the postseason, when he registered seven points in seven outings.
Abruzzese seems unlikely to make Toronto’s opening night roster, however. Pontus Holmberg has more experience in the NHL (he played 37 games last year) and likely has a leg up on a fourth-line center role to start the season. That’s not to say Abruzzese won’t get any NHL looks, though. It wouldn’t surprise many to see him get more than the two games he received last season, and he’ll be in the first tier of potential call-ups to the Maple Leafs from the Marlies, along with other prospects in their early 20s such as Alex Steeves and Nicholas Robertson (if he doesn’t make the Leafs out of camp).
The New York-born center will still have a year remaining before he’s eligible for unrestricted free agency when his deal expires in 2025, meaning he’ll still be an RFA in two years. Unlike this summer, he’ll be eligible for arbitration at that time.