Kyle Dubas keeps checking off things from his summer to-do list as the negotiations with Mitch Marner continue. On Friday, the Toronto Maple Leafs announced that they have extended both forwards Andreas Johnsson and Kasperi Kapanen.
Kapenen gets a three-year deal worth $9.6 million ($3.2M AAV), while Johnsson signed a four-year, $13.6 million ($3.4M AAV) extension.
According to Cap Friendly, this put the Maple Leafs $6.9 million under the $81.5 million salary cap ceiling, and they can still place Nathan Horton on long-term injury reserve, allowing them to exceed that number by $5.3 million.
In his first full season in Toronto, Johnsson has a stellar rookie year. He scored 20 goals and recorded 43 points in 73 games. He finished eighth in voting for the Calder Trophy and just outside the top-three of forwards for the All-Rookie Team.
Kapanen tied for fifth on the Maple Leafs in scoring with 44 points and was one of seven players to reach 20 goals. He took advantage of William Nylander‘s early-season absence by netting 19 points in the team’s first 28 games. His production dipped a bit after the contract squabble ended, but still averaged 0.5 points per game the rest of the way. He’ll remain a restricted free agent the deal expires following the 2021-22 NHL season.
It’s been a busy week for Dubas as the Maple Leafs GM has had to balance extending players with trying to free up cap space in order to bring Marner back. Patrick Marleau was dumped to the Carolina Hurricanes — and later bought out — while Johnsson and Kapanen were joined by Michael Hutchinson, who will likely serve as Frederik Andersen‘s backup next season.
The Marner negotiations continue and there’s still the talk of an offer sheet, which we’ll believe it if one ever actually materializes. But there’s still plenty of time for both signs to come to an agreement, which has already proven to be tricky. But when the free agent market opens Monday morning, that’s when things will get real.
“You always hope you don’t go right down to the final hour,” Dubas said at last week’s NHL Draft in Vancouver. “It seems to be a specialty of ours a little bit. We’ll try to avoid it this time.”