Toronto Maple Leafs: Joey Anderson Signing Shows Forward Thinking

Toronto Maple Leafs (Mandatory Credit: David Berding-USA TODAY Sports)
Toronto Maple Leafs (Mandatory Credit: David Berding-USA TODAY Sports) /

All pressing matters for the Toronto Maple Leafs are now closed.

The Toronto Maple Leafs announced on Friday that they had finalized a contract with their final restricted free agent, Joey Anderson.

The contract will run for three years and has an AAV of $750,000 at the NHL level. Interestingly, it is a two-way contract for the first two years, and therefore, doesn’t require waivers to move between the AHL and NHL. In my opinion, this is a very good bit of business for Leafs GM Kyle Dubas, who had himself a busy Friday between this and the signing of Michael Hutchinson.

Sometime very soon, I plan on explaining why I think the Leafs recent moves show some amazing levels of forward-thinking on Kyle Dubas and the rest of the management’s part. Not only is this team trying to win now, they’re aggressively planning for the future, and that is nothing but good news.

Toronto Maple Leafs and Joey Anderson

Joey Anderson, as you may remember, was the prospect acquired from the New Jersey Devils in exchange for Andreas Johnsson. The Leafs reportedly had several offers on the table, including some that were strictly draft picks, for Johnsson (who needed to be moved to become cap compliant), but Dubas chose Anderson because he has extremely promising potential.

Anderson is a 22-year-old, right winger of average size. He was the Devils 3rd round pick (73rd overall) in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft. In 52 NHL games so far in his career (across the previous two seasons), he has 13 points (8 goals). In the AHL last year with the Binghamton Devils, he had 34 points (15 goals) in 44 games.

Not the most technically skilled player but, as stated by Anderson himself, he models his game after Zach Hyman or Blake Coleman- a hard-worker who never gives up on the puck, is defensively-sound, makes good decisions, and can even chip in a few goals. And he comes to Toronto with a chip on his shoulder because he was never given the chance to develop in New Jersey for various reasons.

The structure of the contract is what makes this a potential steal for the Toronto Maple Leafs. Being a two-way contract, the Leafs can freely move Anderson between the NHL and minors with impunity over the next two seasons. He’ll get his chances to play NHL games as an injury replacement while honing the finer parts of his game in the AHL. This loophole, if you want to call it that, is another tool that will allow the Leafs to dress the best possible roster in every single game next season and beyond, but more on that another time.

Next. 3 Leafs Who Can Break Out Or Bounce Back. dark

Anderson will be an RFA with arbitration rights when this contract expires in three years.