The Toronto Maple Leafs have signed Russian forward Alexander Barabanov to a one -year entry-level contract worth $925,00.00
The Maple Leafs have signed forward Alexander Barabanov to a one-year entry level contract for the 2020-21 season.
— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) April 7, 2020
Maple Leafs Sign Barabanov
The 25-year-old Barabanov was a productive skater for St. Petersburg this year. The 5’10” wing scored 11 goals and 20 points in 43 games in the regular season. Barabanov also scored one goal and three points in four playoff contests before the KHL cancelled hockey operations. Finally, he played on three of Russia’s world championship teams. Not to mention he was a member of the Russian Olympic Hockey team that won gold at the 2018 Winter Olympics. His experience in international play could give him a boost when it comes to adjusting to North American play.
Once the season was over Barabanov and along with his agent, Dan Milstein began the interview process last week with NHL teams. It is believed that they were fielding calls from about 20 teams with the Maple Leafs high on Barabanov’s list. The Maple Leafs were always the favourites to snag Barabanov. They nearly lost out to the Arizona Coyotes but their larger market and familiarity with Russian-born players gave them a boost.
What to Expect from Barabanov
Toronto has a stacked top-six so Barabanov won’t crack the primary scoring lines. However, there is plenty of room for him to make the team’s third line. Barabanov would add an extra scoring punch to a bottom-six that struggled to produce points consistently in 2019-20.
Barabanov is undersized but scouring reports give him good marks in skill and puck control. He has consistently put up good numbers playing the KHL. That scoring ability should translate to the NHL level even if he isn’t a huge part of Toronto’s offence. His deal is team-friendly enough that the Leafs can continue to build around their star players for a Stanley Cup run.
They still need to sort out some questions regarding their blue line and forward depth but Toronto snagged someone that could turn into a big boost. We still do not know when hockey will resume in North America but Toronto is stocking up for the next time it hits the ice.
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