The Toronto Maple Leafs were quite busy on Thursday, crossing four tasks of the list of new general manager Kyle Dubas. They started the day by completing a pair of long-rumored signings of European free agents.
The Leafs agreed to terms with Russian defenseman Igor Ozhiganov and Swedish center Par Lindholm on one-year entry-level contracts.
Lindholm played eight years in Sweden and also represented his country in the 2018 Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea. He recorded a career-high 18 goals and 29 assists for 47 points with Skelleftea last season. The 26-year-old center is known to be quite versatile on both ends of the ice.
As for Ozhiganov, he is expected to be given a very good chance to win a spot on the NHL roster in training camp. The 25-year-old Russian, right-shooting defender, played 41 games CSKA in the KHL this past season, where he managed to put up two goals and nine points.
The Leafs also agreed to terms with forward Pierre Engvall and defenseman Jesper Lindgren on a two-year entry level contract and a three-year entry level contract respectively.
Lindgren was selected in the fourth round by the Leafs back in the 2015 Entry Draft, and many experts are admittedly surprised by his signing. His rights don’t expire until next summer, and he is under contract to HPK in the Finnish Liiga for next year. It was not mentioned if Lindgren is expected to leave the Finnish team before the end of his deal. He is a talented offensive defenseman and can be quite dangerous on the power-play. He however struggled this past season. He did spent some with the Marlies on a professional tryout, but he was released a few weeks ago to go back home to train.
Engvall, the seventh round pick of the Leafs in 2014, took part in nine games with the Marlies this season. His rights expire at the end of this month, and so the Leafs signed him now. The tall winger is quite a physical force, as he stands at 6 foot 4. In both the SHL in Sweden and with the Marlies, he showed versatility. In Toronto he filled in for Andreas Johnsson on the top line, and then dropped down to a grittier line with Frederik Gauthier and Mason Marchment.