The Toronto Maple Leafs re-signed restricted free agent left winger Pierre Engvall to a one-year contract worth $2.25 million. This contract carries him through the end of next season when he will become an unrestricted free agent.
🖊 We’ve signed forward Pierre Engvall to a one-year contract extension.#LeafsForever
— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) July 17, 2022
RFA Pierre Engvall Signed Contract
Over his three-year NHL career, Engvall played only for the Leafs to-date. That same franchise drafted him back in 2014 with their seventh-round, 188th overall selection. In total, Engvall amassed 30 goals and 32 assists for 62 points through 168 career games. Those totals appear modest, but they continue trending up pace-wise year after year. Over half his career scoring occurred in 2021-22, more than doubling what he put up over the two previous years combined. He scored 15 goals and 20 assists for 35 points in 78 games last season.
Most impressively, his time-on-ice increased by less than 90 seconds per game on average, yet his scoring pace increased somewhere between two- and threefold. Though he still carries a negative relative-Corsi percentage, his -1.2% remains an improvement from the two years prior. The forward plays a depth role too, starting over 60% of his shifts in the defensive zone.
What This Means for the Future
Toronto still possesses plenty of high-end talent. They roll into next year with top-flight stars like Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, John Tavares, and William Nylander under contract. Their blueline features Morgan Reilly, Jake Muzzin, and recently-acquired Mark Giordano too. All-in-all, this is a strong team that will compete for the foreseeable future.
Now, it’s impossible to avoid acknowledging their lack of postseason success in that same breath. But in fairness to the Leafs, they draw tougher first round matchups than the vast majority of other franchises. Even last year, when they faced the Canadiens who were huge underdogs, that Canadiens team went on to shock everyone after just round one. In three of the last four seasons, the team that beat the Leafs in the first round went on to the Stanley Cup Final. That’s a tough streak of luck, to put it mildly.
So ultimately, the Leafs look close. They push teams that wind up playing in the very last games of each season, typically to a seven-game series in the first round. That means the Leafs sat just a bounce or two away from eliminating those teams. And who knows from there? If the teams they barely lose to wind up going all the way, it isn’t a stretch to think the Leafs could’ve gone all the way themselves, too. Because of this, they haven’t blown up the roster just yet. And bringing back depth guys with high ceilings, guys like Engvall getting a contract signed, those are what Toronto needs. Expect further improvement for Engvall’s bottom line, and another strong season from one of the best teams in the league.
Main Photo: MONTREAL, QC – FEBRUARY 08: Pierre Engvall #47 of the Toronto Maple Leafs skates against the Montreal Canadiens during the third period at the Bell Centre on February 8, 2020 in Montreal, Canada. The Montreal Canadiens defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs 2-1 in overtime. (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)