Per TSN, the Toronto Maple Leafs have agreed in principle to a 2 year contract with pending-RFA goaltender Jonas Gustavsson. The contract is said to be worth $2.7 million in total (avg $1.35 million per season).
Gustavsson, originally signed to a 1 year contract, struggled somewhat during the first half of a season marred by heart surgery and the inevitable adjustment period required with not only a new league, but a new culture as well.Â As the season progressed, so too did Gustavsson’s consistency and poise. As his comfort level grew, fans began to witness what all the hype had been about,Â his performance culminating with a 7-game winning stretch during the month of March (7-0-0, 2.00 GAA, .929 SV %).
For the season, Gustavsson finished with a winning record of 16-15-9, posting a 2.87 GAA and .902 SV %.
Should Gustavsson be able to build upon the latter part of his rookie campaign — a task far less difficult with mentor J-S Giguere in the fold — the contract could prove to be a steal, and at two years is fair to both the player and the organization.
This could go one of two ways.Â If Gustavsson develop into a bona-fide number one netminder, he will be in a position to earn a contract in accordance with that standing, at a point in where Giguere will be off the books.Â And if, for any reason things do not work out, the team is not trapped by a long-term contract, or a burdensome financial commitment.
Unlike many high-profile NHL signings the past few years, this is a smart deal all around. And that is something quite refreshing, in a post-lockout era of teams signing off on huge financial commitments for decade-long terms.Â It is also quite encouraging in light of (and hopefully impactful upon) the contract negotiations still underway with restricted free agents Nikolai Kulemin and Christian Hanson.
Looking forward to your thoughts as always,