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Breaking: Former Leafs goalie signs NHL contract

This kid looks legit… did the Leafs blow it by letting him go?

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Former Toronto Maple Leafs draft pick Antoine Bibeau has signed a two-year contract extension with the San Jose Sharks with an average annual cap hit of $650,000.

The 23 year old native of Victoriaville, Quebec is having a stellar season in the AHL with the Sharks’ affiliate, the San Jose Barracuda. In 33 games, Bibeau has 18 wins to go along with a respectable 2.09 goals against average and .928 save percentage. 

Leafs fans may remember Bibeau from his brief audition last season where he put up a 1.99 goals against average and .927 save percentage in just two NHL games last season. After he was not tendered a qualifying offer by the Leafs this past summer, Bibeau hit the open market as an unrestricted free-agent and was quickly snapped up by the Sharks. Now, with another successful AHL season under his belt, it looks like Bibeau might be ready for NHL action. Did the Leafs blow it by letting this kid get away?

Gameday: Johnsson in or out vs Dallas?

In case you missed it, yesterday afternoon the Toronto Maple Leafs officially recalled forward Andreas Johnsson from the AHL’s Toronto Marlies.

Leafs fans have been calling for a Johnsson call up for awhile and there are some analysts who believe the 23 year old Swedish winger could be a potential replacement for pending unrestricted free-agent James van Riemsdyk, if JVR elects to leave the team this upcoming offseason. Overhyped? Maybe, but the smooth skating Johnsson does have an impressive AHL pedigree. In 54 games for the Marlies this season, Johnsson has an outstanding 26 goals and 54 points, good enough for the team lead.

“Over the last 2 years Andreas Johnsson is now tied for the AHL lead in goals and assists, and holds the lead in points among all U24 players.”

He’s an intriguing prospect in the Leafs’ pipeline and represents a MAJOR draft score for former Leafs general manager Dave Nonis. Johnsson was selected in the seventh round (202nd overall) of the 2013 NHL Entry Draft, chosen behind players like Frederik Gauthier, Carter Vergaeghe and Fabrice Herzog.

Sounds great, but will the big Swede be in the lineup tonight when the Leafs take on the Dallas Stars? You bet.

In fact, the rookie may get an even longer audition if things go well against the Stars tonight:

It’s official, ECHL approves expansion for Leafs farm club

In case you missed it yesterday, multiple reporters including Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston reported that the ECHL was set to announce the return of professional hockey to the city of St. John’s, Newfoundland and today, the league made it official. 

The ECHL officially announced that St. John’s has been chosen as the location for the league’s next expansion team, set to take the ice next season at St. John’s beautiful Mile One Centre.

The yet to be named team will also become the Toronto Maple Leafs’ official ECHL affiliate, replacing the team’s current agreement with the Orlando Solar Bears

Of course, the Maple Leafs have a long history in the city of St. John’s, as well. The Leafs housed their AHL farm team, the St. John’s Maple Leafs, in the city for decades before moving them to Toronto as the Marlies back in 2005.

St. John’s last hosted professional hockey with the St. John’s IceCaps of the AHL, affiliate of the Winnipeg Jets from 2011 until 2015 and as an affiliate of the Montreal Candiens from 2015 until 2017. The team is now defunct, but the team’s former chief operating officer, Glenn Stanford, is a major reason why St. John’s stands to get a new professional hockey team. Stanford and St. John’s businessman Dean MacDonald are behind the group’s expansion efforts.

St. John’s will join the ECHL as only it’s second Canadian franchise behind the Brampton Beast, ECHL affiliate of the Canadiens. While it has not yet officially been determined, the team will likely be a part of the league’s North Division with the Manchester Monarchs, Adirondack Thunder, Worcester Railers, Reading, Pa., Royals, Wheeling, W.V., Nailers and Brampton, Ont., Beast.