The Leafs resumed off-season housekeeping today, announcing a two-year entry-level contract for the newly-acquired Zach Hyman. The team also announced new one-year deals for defensemen Petter Granberg and Tim Erixon.
Hyman of course was acquired last Friday in exchange for forward prospect Greg McKegg, who had struggled to establish himself as a legitimate NHL player. Speculation had been that Hyman would pass on the opportunity to sign with Florida so that he could go to free agency and choose a team of his liking. The Leafs though were able to swoop in and acquire his rights, with a 2017 conditional 7th-round pick as insurance in case he didn’t sign. That pick now goes by the wayside and expectations are Hyman will be spending the foreseeable future down with the Toronto Marlies developing under new AHL bench boss Sheldon Keefe.
Granberg and Erixon are a little interesting in the sense that both were RFAs heading into the off-season and based on their performance for the Leafs’ organization this past season neither of them were locks to be retained. However, it looks like the Leafs feel good enough about their place in the organization that they wanted to keep both players around for at least one more year. Neither projects as a significant player for the Leafs, but it’ll be interesting to see whether either of them can make the Leafs out of training camp. The Leafs have talked a lot about wanting to keep their young players down with the Marlies until they are absolutely ready for the NHL, and Erixon and Granberg could serve as good placeholders to smooth that transition.
Between the trade for Zach Hyman and these signings, it’s been a slow start to the week leading up to the draft for the Leafs. Enjoy the peace and quiet while it lasts, because things are slated to get pretty interesting over the next couple of weeks.
UPDATE: Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston is reporting Petter Granberg’s new deal is a two-way deal while Tim Erixon’s is a one-way deal. Considering Granberg is still waiver exempt and Erixon isn’t, Erixon is perhaps more likely than Granberg to be kept in the NHL next season. However, that shouldn’t be considered a lock at this point either. Tim Erixon will make $600,000 this season, not far off from the league minimum salary.