Is Pierre Engvall pricing himself out of Toronto?

Published April 6, 2022 at 1:10 PM
BY BRADLEY CELSIE
Pierre Engvall is having a breakout season for the Leafs this season. After being drafted by the Buds in the seventh round in the 2014 entry draft, the 6'5 Swedish forward spent parts of six seasons developing in Sweden and with the Toronto Marlies in the American Hockey League. Engvall is a pending restricted free agent this summer.

At the beginning of this season, many wondered if Engvall would make the Leafs out of camp. Some had him as the thirteenth forward. But his 27 points (13 goals and 14 assists) in 66 games thus far this season has established him as an everyday middle six NHL forward. Engvall brings value with a his combination of speed and size. His speed opens up skating lanes, creates offensive zone time and chances off the rush. His size allows him to protect the puck well, especially when driving to the net. He has also become a very effective penalty killer for the team due to his solid positioning and enormous wing span.

But what does this mean for his next contract? When thinking of a comparable, another Leafs winger comes to mind. Two years ago, Ilya Mikheyev signed a two year deal with a cap hit of $1.65 million. At the time, Mikheyev had a higher points per game percentage, but was coming off a very serious wrist injury, which likely lowered his value. The two seem comparable given they are both good reliable penalty killers who use there speed to generate offensive zone time.

Former Leaf and current Los Angeles Kings Forward Trevor Moore is also a sound comparable to Engvall. Last season, Moore posted 23 points in 56 games, which is similar points per game production to Engvall this year. Last summer, Moore signed a two year deal with a cap hit of $1.85 million. Like Engvall, Moore is a trusted penalty killer for the Kings.


We also saw Travis Boyd, a former Leaf, sign a two year extension with the Arizona Coyotes earlier this season with a cap hit of $1.75 million. Boyd's point totals are very similar to Pierre Engvall's, though Boyd plays more with a lowly skilled Arizona team. He also plays higher up in the lineup, so that's an added dimension as well.

It should be noted Pierre Engvall does have arbitration rights, but as a restricted free agent, he does not have the right to negotiate with other teams. Engvall will be eligible for unrestricted free agency in two years. A two year deal makes sense for Engvall as it could walk him into unrestricted free agency where teams often over pay players.

With all this in mind, my prediction is Engvall signs a two-year deal with an AAV around $1.65M - $1.85M. This is something the Leafs can work into the cap next season if the team does want Engvall back. However, if Engvall's ask is too high, or if the Leafs don't like the idea of going through arbitration, this could be the end of Engvall's tenure in Toronto.
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