The Toronto Maple Leafs announced today they have signed goalie prospect Joseph Woll to a three-year entry-level contract.

UPDATE: The story on linked in the tweet above does not contain any clear information on when this contract is to take effect, but a look at Cap Friendly shows they have the following structure:

The contract begins now and Woll is listed on the Leafs roster right now. That means it runs through next season and the one after. He is paid an $80,000 signing bonus, so he just got a cheque, and his total salary and AAV is $800,000 per season. The minors salary is the usual $70,000 maximum allowed.

The end result of this is that he gets paid now, and has what amounts to a two-year ELC with an extra signing bonus payment added onto it. If the Leafs had signed him to a deal that started July 1, he would have three full years of an ELC to play through before his first contract.

The likely explanation here is that this was what Woll wanted in order to agree to sign now. He could have sat out a season, or played elsewhere in the NCAA until the summer of 2020 and been a free agent. It was clear Boston College had a new goalie they wanted to make room for, so playing another year there was not on the cards.

There are stories going around Twitter that Woll has classes to finish up, and so put away your fantasies that he’s going to play on the Leafs at all. I’m sure he can come to some playoff games though and practice getting his hate on for the Bruins from the press box.

The Leafs selected the phenomenally named Woll 62nd overall in the 2016 draft.  He’s been plying his trade with Boston College for the past three seasons, posting gradually improving save percentages each year—.913, .915, and now .919.  His save percentage ranks him sixth among Hockey East NCAA goalies.  He also has appeared for the USA World Junior team in 2017 and 2018, although his 2018 run was not terrific (.886 in five games.)

Woll, like so many goalies these days, is big (6’4”) and rangy, and he’s generally considered to be agile. Everyone who knows him speaks highly of him as a smart, studious kid determined to keep improving. If you’d like to get to know the personal side of Joseph Woll, our former editor Scott Wheeler profiled him at the Athletic in December.

Regarding his play style, prospects writer Corey Pronman had this to say about him:

“Woll was a solid goalie this past season. He’s a big man who is very nimble for a big goaltender. He can get across his crease with ease, and make dynamic saves with regularity. He doesn’t shy away from playing high in his crease. His aggressiveness can backfire at times. He’s so quick and at times jumpy in the net that he can get out of position. He’ll need to improve his decisions and lower the amount of soft goals he allows, but he has significant upside.”

We debated last summer whether Woll ought to be ranked in our Top 25, but he didn’t make the cut, possibly because ranking goalie prospects is so difficult. Nonetheless, our blogboss Katya Knappe looked at him and Ian Scott in detail.

It’s hard to know what to make of young goaltenders, and especially so before they’ve played professional hockey.  At present, the most we can say about Woll is that he’s had respectable NCAA results, he has some intriguing tools, and it’ll be interesting to see how he progresses as he enters the organization. Personally I hope he makes it so that we can make a bunch of Brick Woll jokes in headlines.

Joseph Woll

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