Connect with us

NHL News

Maple Leafs Prospect Mikko Lehtonen Is Headed to Toronto

Maple Leafs prospect Mikko Lehtonen is on his way to the NHL after terminating his KHL contract.

Depsite the fact a few Toronto Maple Leafs prospects will be staying overseas, many of whom are still playing in the KHL, you can scratch Mikko Lehtonen’s name off that list. The 26-year-old defensive prospect is officially on his way to Toronto and hoping his being with the team sooner than later increases his odds of cracking the Leafs’ roster (possibly the top four) for the 2020-21 NHL season.

Related: Dubas Comments on Possible Maple Leafs Interest in Zdeno Chara

Lehtonen started season on loan to Jokerit Helsinki of the KHL, but on Friday, the team and the player mutually agreed to part ways and terminate his contract so he could head to North America. The Finnish defenceman signed a one-year contract with the Maple Leafs back in May worth $925,000 and the belief is that he’s got a good chance to play this season, potentially taking over where the departed Tyson Barrie once played.

Lehtonen has dominated the KHL from the blue line, scoring eight goals with 17 points in 17 games for Jokerit. Obviously, that doesn’t equate to guaranteed production in the NHL, but the Leafs have to feel good about how he’s performed up to this point. This all comes on the heels of a breakout season where he won the KHL’s defenseman of the year award.

He’s averaged over 23 minutes per game and a point-per-game this season.

Mikko Lehtonen Maple Leafs KHL

Who Is He Competing With For a Spot?

If Lehtonen makes the team, he’ll likely have had to beat out Travis Dermott and Zach Bogosian for a spot inside the top four. If he’s successful, it means Rasmus Sandin, Justin Holl and Timothy Liljegren will be on the outside looking in and likely candidates for the AHL’s Toronto Marlies.

That he knows he’s got a good shot to make the team but has some work cut out for him with competition for jobs, it makes a lot more sense as to why he’s leaving the KHL now and prepping himself for Maple Leafs’ training camp, whenever that may be.

Next: Toronto Maple Leafs 2021 NHL Roster is Bursting with Possibilities

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

More News