Toronto Maple Leafs: The Casualties of the Cap Crunch

TORONTO, ON - MARCH 9: Zach Hyman #11 of the Toronto Maple Leafs skates with the puck against the Winnipeg Jets during an NHL game at Scotiabank Arena on March 9, 2021 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The Jets defeated the Maple Leafs 4-3. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - MARCH 9: Zach Hyman #11 of the Toronto Maple Leafs skates with the puck against the Winnipeg Jets during an NHL game at Scotiabank Arena on March 9, 2021 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The Jets defeated the Maple Leafs 4-3. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images) /
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Toronto Maple Leafs
TORONTO, ON – FEBRUARY 11: Andreas Johnsson #18 of the Toronto Maple Leafs  . (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images) /

Andreas Johnsson

The Toronto Maple Leafs stole Andreas Johnsson in the seventh round of the 2013 NHL Entry Draft which happened because of a non diagnosed medical condition.

Some scouts felt that Johnsson was a lazy hockey player, but it was more to do with the lack of energy he had.  After being drafted by the Maple Leafs, he was sent to a doctor where he learned that he had asthma.

Once he figured out his health issue, Johnsson’s career took off from there to the point where he won the Calder Cup Trophy with the Toronto Marlies in 2018 and was awarded playoff MVP after collecting 24-points in 16 games.

In addition to his scoring prowess, fans enjoyed the energy Johnsson brought to each and every shift.  The Swedish winger earned a full time spot with the Maple Leafs the following year which resulted in a 20-goal rookie season finishing eighth in rookie of he year voting which just happened to be in a contract season.

Kyle Dubas rewarded Johnsson with a four-year contract days before free agency would hit that garnered a $3.4 Million cap hit.

Unfortunately for both sides, COVID hit that upcoming season that resulted in him collecting just 21-points in 43 games and the salary cap not moving.  Dubas had to find a way to get out from under a couple of contracts and six weeks after Kapanen was dealt to the Penguins, Johnsson was traded to the New Jersey Devils for prospect Joey Anderson.

Anderson would find production in the AHL, but could not translate it to the NHL and was included in the trade for Jake McCabe last deadline.

Johnsson had one decent season in New Jersey recording 35-points in 71 games during the 2021-22 season but found himself playing for the Utica Comets (AHL) for the majority of the 2022-23 season before being traded to the San Jose Sharks.

Most recently, Johnsson received a one-year contract for non other than Kyle Dubas who gave him a one-year, one-way contract with the Pittsburgh Penguins worth $800,000.

If Johnsson can’t make the Penguins who would require waivers to be sent to the AHL, but none of his contract would count against Pittsburgh’s cap space.