Leafs Sign Petri Kontiola

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It looks like Leo Komarov isn’t the only KHL playing Finn to join the Toronto Maple Leafs this week. Looking to bolster their forward depth, the blue and white have signed Petri Kontiola to a one year contract.

Who The F*** Is Petri Kontiola?

Kontiola was originally drafted by the Chicago Blackhawks in the 7th round of the 2004 Entry Draft. While he was seen as a long shot to even attempt to cross the pond, he did manage to get twelve games in with Chicago in his first NHL tour of duty, earning himself five assists in 2007/08. This went with a stellar rookie year in Rockford, where he put up 68 points in 66 games as a 24 year old. He was eventually traded to the Anaheim Ducks, and spent 20 more games in the AHL before heading to Russia.

Over the past few years, Kontiola has blossomed into the KHL’s best playmakers. Starting off with 21 points in 54 games, he’s been a 0.7+ point per game forward in his last three seasons. This year, he lead Chelyabinsk Traktor with 37 points, ahead of Andrei Kostitsyn and at a better rate of production than Evgeny Kuznetsov. He also lead the team in scoring in the 12/13 playoffs and was third in scoring in the two regular seasons prior.

Kontiola was also on Finland’s 2014 Olympic Team, which actually made him teammates with Komarov. He was the more productive one of the two, however, scoring 5 points in 6 games while playing about 16 minutes per game. 

What Can He Do For Toronto?

It really depends on how they plan to use him. Kontiola is an offensively driven, strong footed playmaker who tends to lean towards playing centre. In theory, you’d think that this means that the Leafs will use him in the 3 slot and bump Peter Holland down a line, but with an offer apparently being given to David Legwand, perhaps they plan on using him on the wing.

Or, just maybe, they’re only acquiring him to deal with the Toronto media. He’s pretty good at that.

If the cap number is good on this one (terms haven’t yet been disclosed), this is a good move. Low-risk, high-reward opportunities have a history of working well for the Leafs in the cap era (unless you’re Tim Connolly), so it’ll be interesting to see what he does here.

  • Bertly83

    Another bad move in a long line of poor moves from Nonis. First he gets outbid by Florida for Bolland. And then Nonis lowballs Boyle.

    But worst of all he lets Mclemment slip away. This guy could play 20 minutes a night, could block shots and PK and slot anywhere in the line up from 1C to 4c. Mclemment would be a the better choice instead betting on a 30 year old 3c that has not really played much at all in the NHL.

    #firenonis

    • Bertly83

      Boy, you sure don’t know hockey. McClement was FORCED to play 20 minutes a night, and he was tired through 15 of them. To suggest that he could be a 1C as easily as he was 4C is moronic. Yes, Toronto is “betting on” a 29 year old centre, as you said, but they’re also betting on a solid playmaker in the KHL who had some outstanding seasons in the AHL. And before you say “oh, the AHL isn’t nearly as competitive as the NHL”, remember that the A is where players develop and we get to see how good they are.

      #GetBent

  • Bertly83

    Another bad move in a long line of poor moves from Nonis. First he gets outbid by Florida for Bolland. And then Nonis lowballs Boyle.

    But worst of all he lets Mclemment slip away. This guy could play 20 minutes a night, could block shots and PK and slot anywhere in the line up from 1C to 4c. Mclemment would be a the better choice instead betting on a 30 year old 3c that has not really played much at all in the NHL.

    #firenonis

  • Bertly83

    I think Nonis is building depth, options and competition at center. I think 2nd line center will be decided/won at training camp.

    But with Kadri , Holland and now Kontiola they have
    3 offensive players none of them suited for a checking center role.

    Could this be prep work for a possible Kadri deal
    with William Nylander now in the pipeline.

  • I think this is a great signing. He paid $600K to break his existing contract, signs for $1.1M with the Leafs. After taxes he is down $100k or so. This means he either plays desperation hockey all year so he can sign a more profitable contract next year (think Mason Raymond), or he just can’t cut it, takes the loss on his income and goes back to the KHL. We’ll revisit this in Feb and see how he is doing. Low Risk-high Reward, not bad Nonis.

  • I like this signing a lot. Like Santorelli, Kontiola seems to be versatile and could slot in anywhere from 2nd line RW to 4th line C. It’s depth, something we haven’t had in awhile.

    However, I did laugh pretty hard when Kontiola said he was coming over because he wants to win a Cup. I love him and his naivety already.

  • Kontiola is a great story.

    a 30 year old that wants to fulfill his dream to play in the NHL.
    He played a couple of seasons in the AHL in the Black Hawk system and never got a real chance to make the NHL.

    Kontiola returned to Russia to take care of his finances (is my guess)and now has paid $620,297 — to get out of the final season of his KHL deal. His Leaf salary is only $1.1 million.

    My best wishes go out to Petri Kontiola and I hope he has a great season with the Leafs, and I’m proud that the Leafs signed this player.