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GM Dubas Signs Maple Leafs Prospects: Kokkonen, Rindell & Ellis

The Toronto Maple Leafs recently signed three prospects to entry-level deals. Who are these players? What are their backgrounds?

As the Toronto Maple Leafs continue to build the future of the franchise, they signed three young prospects to entry-level deals last week. In this post, I’ll share a little bit about these three prospects and what they might bring to the team.

Signee One: Mikko Kokkonen

The Maple Leafs announced last week that the club had signed defenseman Mikko Kokkonen to a three-year entry-level contract starting in the 2022-23 season. The 21-year-old Kokkonen played in 58 games in the Finnish Elite League (Liiga) for the Lahti Pelicans. Over the season, he scored a goal and added 14 assists.

In 216 games during his six-season Liiga career, the native of Finland has scored 54 points (on eight goals and 46 assists). Kokkonen won a bronze medal with Finland at the IIHF World Junior Championships.

Kokkonen was selected by Toronto in the third round (84th overall) of the 2019 NHL Entry Draft. During the 2020-21 season, he played 11 AHL games with the Toronto Marlies where he scored one goal and added six assists. Kokkonen’s contract calls for him to earn $846,666 each year over the course of his contract.

Related: Three Takeaways from Maple Leafs’ 3-2 Win Over the Canadiens

Signee Two: Axel Rindell

The Maple Leafs also announced last week that the team signed Axel Rindell (another young defenceman from Finland) to a future two-year contract. The 21-year-old Rindell’s contract doesn’t begin until next season. As a result, he’ll join the Marlies for the remainder of the 2021-22 season on a professional tryout.

Rindell was chosen in the sixth round (177th overall) of the 2020 NHL Entry Draft. He’s a right-shot defenseman who played 26 games with Karpat of Finland’s Liiga. He registered a goal and 11 assists (for 12 points) this season and also played in five playoff games.

Rindell was selected by Toronto in the sixth round (177th overall) of the 2020 NHL Entry Draft. He played internationally for Team Finland several times and last year lead his team to a silver medal at the 2021 IIHF Men’s World Championships. 

His contract is $838,750 for each of his two years. Rindell will join the Marlies on a professional tryout for the rest of the 2021-22 regular season and the Calder Cup playoffs.

Related: Are Matthews and Marner Ready to Lead the Maple Leafs to the Stanley Cup?

Signee Three: Max Ellis

Finally, the Maple Leafs last week also signed forward Max Ellis to a two-year, entry-level contract starting in 2022-23. The 22-year-old Ellis is a 5-foot-8, 150-pound forward who just completed his third season at the University of Notre Dame. He scored 16 goals and added 12 assists (for 28 points) in 39 contests.

That 28 points led the Fighting Irish in both goals and points this season. He was named to the 2021-22 All-Big Ten Second Team. Over his 71 NCAA games, he scored 22 goals and 23 assists (for 45 points).

The 22-year-old right-winger will also likely spend the 2022-23 season in the minors. Because the contract goes into force next season, Ellis will join the Marlies on a professional tryout for the remainder of the season and the playoffs. The average annual value of the contract is $838,750.

Related: Thinking Ahead too Soon: Next Season, Who Can the Maple Leafs Keep?

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