The Toronto Maple Leafs used their 17th overall pick to invite Timothy Liljegren into the organization. On Wednesday, the team announced they had signed Liljegren to his entry level contract. It has the typical three-year duration but is a bit pricier than usual. Liljegren will earn $925,000 per year throughout the contract.
#Leafs sign Timothly Liljegren to three year entry level deal. $925,000 (incl $92,500 signing bonus) and Salary A bonuses to $400,000 max.
— Kevin McGran (@kevin_mcgran) July 12, 2017
Toronto Maple Leafs Sign First Round Pick Timothy Liljegren
There was a point in time when Liljegren was projected to be one of the top five picks in this draft. For good reason too. He’s a highly skilled offensive defenseman, with great skating skills. At the beginning of the season, though, he was diagnosed with mononucleosis. He missed the first two months of the season, and his comeback wasn’t as strong as he would have liked. Previously a potential top five pick, he fell to the 17th pick overall.
It seems like Toronto might have gotten a steal though. The 18-year-old has been turning heads at Toronto’s development camp. He’s easily proven to be one of the top defensemen that Toronto has in their system. Liljegren also showed a great attitude. He has worked a lot with skating coach Barb Underhill and is working to translate that new skill to his game.
Liljegren is AHL eligible for this upcoming season, and it’s likely he joins the pro scene then. He’s already seen playing time in Sweden’s top league, the SHL. While his illness and recovery held him back quite a bit last season, he still managed to play in 19 SHL games. In those, he had a total of four points. He also had seven points in 12 games in a junior U20 league. All at the age of 17.
What to Expect From Liljegren
Liljegren is slowly becoming a bigger name in the Maple Leafs organization. He’s likely to end up as a top four defenseman, going off of current estimates. His NHL debut is likely still a year or two off, but he’s young enough for that not to cause worry. An AHL debut would be a perfect step forward for Liljegren. If he carries his current skillset into the NHL, he’ll be a very good offensive defenseman. For Leafs fans, there’s a lot to be excited for in the young defenseman.