The Maple Leafs have announced today that Andreas Johnsson has accepted his qualifying offer. They have one more player to sign before they can all go on vacation.

What this means is that, with two days to spare before it expired, Johnsson chose to take the bare minimum he is entitled to under the CBA instead of trying to negotiate a better deal.

His qualifying offer is a two-way contract, which means he will be paid a lesser salary in the AHL, but his waiver exemption has expired. Therefore, I don’t think it’s at all likely the Leafs would ever try to send him to the minors.

The contract is for one year at not quite the minimum NHL salary, so he’ll have more spending money than Tyler Ennis for games of credit card roulette in fine restaurants, but not much more.

Johnsson’s motivation here is very clear. Nothing says “we’ll talk later” like accepting your qualifying offer.  Next summer, with a full season on NHL play in the books, Johnsson can negotiate for real.

The Leafs, on the other hand, failed in what should have been their goal of getting Johnsson locked up for two years at a decently low cap hit. I never thought they had much hope of that, but I’m sure they tried. It isn’t this year Johnsson’s cap hit matters, but next year there might be some economizing going on, depending on how much the cap ceiling goes up. That’s next summer’s problem, just like Johnsson’s next contract is.

For him, for now, the job is to really wow them with his play on the ice. At the end of this contract, he will still be an RFA and will not have arbitration rights, so he will be negotiating with only the game he laid down over the season to back him up. He has to be betting that it will be more impressive than his current nine games on NHL hockey and six playoff appearances are. It seems right now like that’s a safe bet.