Leafs Sign Two Of Their Top 10 Prospects

While all attention in the land of the Toronto Maple Leafs is on the nerve-racking prospect of Game 7 Saturday night in their first-round series with the Tampa Bay Lightning, the team has done some nice administrative work in the background, in planning for the future. The Leafs have signed two of their top 10 prospects. 

Forward Roni Hirvonen and defenceman Topi Niemelä have been signed to future three-year, entry-level contracts. The deals go into effect next season with average annual values of $856,666.

According to Scott Wheeler in The Athletic, the 19-year-old Niemelä, a right-handed defenceman, is No. 3 on the Leafs' prospect pool, and has "legitimate top-four aspirations and has established himself, as a teenager no less, as one of the top defencemen in Liiga (and its highest-scoring one)," and is looking like a solid part of the Leafs' future defence corps.

The 20-year-old fellow Finnish product Hirvonen "can play a physically-engaged, scrappy, middle-lane style that plays off of his linemates," says Wheeler, "goes to the guts of the ice, and pounces opportunistically on chances around the net."

Regardless of what happens in Game 7 on Saturday, the Leafs have secured two important parts of their future. 

Photo Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports