We’ve signed forward Roni Hirvonen and defenceman Topi Niemelä to future three-year, entry-level contracts.#LeafsForever— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) May 13, 2022
Today the Maple Leafs have signed their two 2020 drafted prospects, forward Roni Hirvonen and defender Topi Niemelä. Both with get three-year ELCs that begin next season. The deals have identical AAVs of $856,666.
Hirvonen and Niemelä were both on the WJC team for Finland, with Hirvonen serving as captain. That event was postponed and will start up again this August, so they will likely appear there again.
Both are coming off successful seasons in the Liiga, with Niemelä putting up some record-setting points for Kärpät. Both had short playoff campaigns, however. They are also both signed to their Liiga teams through next season. At 21 next year, that’s likely a good place to remain, as they’d get a great deal of ice time and good levels of competition. They will be eligible to join the Marlies or Leafs upon conclusion of their Finnish season next year.
They aren’t twins, and yet they’ll be linked together by more than just these matching contracts for the next few years as they try to make the same transition Pontus Holmberg did this spring in moving from the SHL to the AHL.