The Toronto Maple Leafs closed out their offseason RFA signing period this evening, signing Connor Brown to an absurdly low, three-year, $6.3 million contract.
The #Leafs announced tonight the signing of F Connor Brown to a 3-year extension with an average annual value of $2.1 million per season.
— Leafs PR (@LeafsPR) August 27, 2017
I wrote at length about Brown about three weeks ago, pointing out that he had a rather impressive rookie season, and that, knowing history, the Leafs’ best chance at getting a good deal on him was to sacrifice bringing him to UFA, giving him a fourth year, and hoping to get him in the $2.5-3 million range.
Instead, they keep his RFA status for one more contract and sign him for much less than that. This is a slam dunk, grand slam, touch down, whatever you want to call it; this has a good chance at going down as Lou Lamoriello’s shrewdest contract as General Manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs, and carries a chance of being laughable-for-the ages before the first season of it even ends. Even if Brown has already plateaued in his point production, his defensive and special teams contributions pay for themselves at this price.
Toronto now sits at $4.58 million over the Salary Cap, with 48 contracts used. This means they’ve still got room to do a little more, and that they still haven’t gone into their second LTIR placement yet. It’s a tight, yet flexible cap situation for the Leafs at the same time; while they could go into opening night with this roster, this contract gives them the chance to maybe, just maybe, make one more push.
Before we end this post and go back to tweeting about people throwing fists, though…
In 2016/17, Connor Brown, a Toronto native and childhood Leafs fan, ended his four-year journey up to the National Hockey League, had the most under-the-radar 20-goal rookie season in Maple Leafs history, scored the goal that sent the Leafs to the playoffs for just the second time since his eleventh birthday, gave up his sweater to an incoming Patrick Marleau, and signed one of the single most team-friendly deals this organization has had in the salary cap era. I hope he’s, at worst, the third player on the team to hoist the Stanley Cup when it happens, and that when the time comes, all 48 of his eventual jersey numbers get retired.---
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