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Veini Vehviläinen to play in Sweden

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The Maple Leafs RFA has opted for playing time over another shot at the NHL.

NHL: MAR 29 Oilers at Maple Leafs Photo by Julian Avram/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Today Brynäs IF of the SHL have announced the signing of Toronto’s un-signed RFA Veini Vehviläinen.

Originally drafted by Columbus in 2018 in the sixth round, Vehviläinen was signed by them to a two-year ELC in 2019 with an AAV of $925,000.

He was acquired by Toronto for Mikko Lehtonen in March, 2021. He appeared in four Marlies games and was the backup in one Leafs game. Arbitration would have got him at least that much again, and it’s likely the Maple Leafs were not going to qualify him today. They could to maintain rights to him, but if they don’t he becomes an official free agent at the NHL level as well as in Europe.

He told Brynäs why he chose the SHL:

I was stuck in North America without a real opportunity to show my potential at NHL level so it felt great when Brynäs showed interest in me. I have heard that Gävle is a very passionate hockey city and that there is a winning tradition in the club, says Vehviläinen.

He joins his old coach from Finland who just took over the Swedish team.

The signing by the Leafs of free agent Erik Källgren replaces Vehviläinen on the Marlies. They also have Joseph Woll Ian Scott, and Michael Hutchinson under contract.