In a move that should surprise nobody, a Swedish hockey site has indicated that Rickard Wallin will not be with Toronto next year. Â Wallin, who would have been a UFA for the Leafs, signed a four-year deal with his longtime European team Farjestads. Â This ends a very brief return to the NHL for the Swedish centerman which saw one mediocre-at-best season with the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Wallin signed with the Leafs in July of 2009, accompanying his countryman Jonas Gustavsson in the trip from Farjestads to the Maple Leafs. Â While management referred to the pivot’s defensive skills, faceoff prowess and leadership capabilities as the reasoning behind Wallin’s contract, it was quite clear that his signing aided in the wooing of Gustavsson and was thus deemed necessary. Â Indeed, followers of Toronto this year never really saw the “strong two-way centerman” that Brian Burke claimed his club was getting in the then-29 year old.
To be fair, Wallin did display a propensity for smart decisions in his own end and an overall mind for the defensive game (especially as the season wore on). Â However, his skills in the other team’s zone were virtuallyÂ nonexistent, making this departure very easy on the Leafs. Â Furthermore, the absence of Wallin will open up a roster spot in the bottom six for one of our prospects and shouldn’t hurt our on-ice product at all.