It looks like the Toronto Maple Leafs have completely almost all of their business for the summer. Forwards have been signed, goalies have been brought in, and defensemen retained.
And while there’s still contract talks possibly going on between the Leafs and Morgan Rielly, there’s no longer any reason to rush into them as the team’s performance this season will play a big role in how that shakes out.
There is still one nagging bit left to consider: Denis Malgin. Following Joey Duszak’s contract signing yesterday, Malgin is the only RFA left without a contract. Malgin, who is still only 24, joined the Leafs in the middle of last season and played eight games for the team before being dropped as a scratch. Last season, he spent the entire year in the Swiss league, though came back after their playoff team was eliminated and was on the Leafs taxi squad.
The reason why I’m thinking so hard about Denis Malgin is because he’s still eligible for this summer’s Top 25 Under 25 ranking, and I don’t know where to put him. Malgin is closer than most to the NHL, and if you see his body of work he’s got a lot more NHL games than most. But on the flip side, he’s nowhere when it comes to being on the depth chart for a regular job. He wasn’t there last year, and he was quickly dropped from the list of players approved by Sheldon Keefe in 2019-20, too.
I had these same issues with Nic Petan, and he’s in Abbotsford now, so I’m left wondering how much time do we have left for Malgin/Malkin jokes before he’s off to somewhere else. Considering Petan’s tenure in Toronto was two and a half seasons, maybe it ends after this contract.
Speaking of the contract, I did find it pleasantly surprising that neither Malgin or the Leafs chose to go down arbitration for this contract. They got Duszak done as well in pretty short order, so I’m assuming we’ll see Malgin signed without much fuss. It’s weird, the Leafs seem to really like this player up until they start to think about playing him. I have to think Malgin would have a regular NHL role somewhere else in the league (and I bet Petan spends a lot of his season with Vancouver), so it’s odd to me that the Leafs are stringing him along like this. I guess that’s the life of a tweener.
Various Leafs and Branches
Joey Duszak is back on a one-year, two-way deal | by: Katya
Duszak is back on a one-year deal. He’s signed, which is fine, but I don’t think he’s any good even on the Marlies. I’ve always said Duszak has the potential to come onto an injured team, catch lightning (PDO) in a bottle, and ride out some of that hot point production into a respectable NHL career. But the odds of that happened are astronomical.
Dear John Lilley, I didn’t know you existed, and now I don’t have to remember. Even to that point, I called you Brian before I checked your real name.
And beyond Lou being his regular Lou self, there’s no hockey news at this point in the summer. It’s good time to go outside, or check those emails you’ve been putting off (yes, I’m looking at you, me... No, don’t fiddle with the T25 lists yet! Answer your emails!)