Kyle Dubas Has the Chance to Plan for the Future With Timothy Liljegren's Next Contract

Published March 21, 2023 at 10:54

In the early off-season, the Leafs and Timothy Liljegren reached an agreement on a 2-year extension, with the 23-year-old set to earn $1.4M per season. Liljegren, a first-round pick in 2017, spent a few years developing with the Marlies before securing a full-time spot on the Leafs' roster, due in part to setbacks from mononucleosis and a knee injury. Like many young defensemen, he initially struggled but has since become one of the Leafs' top and most reliable blueliners.

Despite primarily playing on the third pairing, Liljegren has earned the trust of coach Sheldon Keefe to participate more in penalty kills and crucial situations since last season's trade deadline. This season, his average ice time per game has increased by 2 minutes, showcasing his strong performance. As a smooth-skating, puck-moving defenseman, Liljegren had been criticized for losing battles in the defensive zone. However, Dobber Sports reports that he has the highest on-ice save percentage at 5on5 among Leafs defensemen, with a .950, leads the team in plus/minus, and has the fewest giveaways.

What To Expect For Liljegren's Next Contract?

As the youngest defenseman on the Leafs, Liljegren will be eligible for an extension next summer, and it would be prudent for the team to secure him on a long-term contract, following the examples of Buffalo and LA. Both Mattias Samuelsson (23, Buffalo) and Mikey Anderson (24, LA) play more minutes than Liljegren and signed substantial extensions for reasonable salaries earlier this season. Samuelsson inked a 7-year deal worth $4.3M per season, while Anderson signed an 8-year contract with a $4.1M annual salary. While LA and Buffalo are investing in future potential, the Leafs already know Liljegren's value, making a long-term commitment less risky than in the cases of Anderson and Samuelsson.

Liljegren's extension might be postponed until the Leafs determine the plans for Auston Matthews and William Nylander, both of whom are also eligible for extensions on July 1st. Securing their contracts sooner will facilitate planning for Liljegren and other players' extensions.

As reported by Maple Leafs insider: Two good contract comparables for Timothy Liljegren, who is eligible for an extension this summer
March 21   |   233 answers
Kyle Dubas Has the Chance to Plan for the Future With Timothy Liljegren's Next Contract

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