Photo Credit: Candice Ward/USA TODAY SPORTS
The Toronto Maple Leafs are closing in on a deal with Swedish goaltender Jhonas Enroth, according to a report from Johan Svensson of Swedish outlet Expressen.
Lite transfernews från semestern. VM-guldmålvakten Jhonas Enroth signar med Toronto inom kort enligt mina uppgifter. https://t.co/ZMwTlbqSzd
— Johan Svensson (@MrMadhawk) July 24, 2016
Here’s your hastily done, paraphrased, half-Google translation of the report:
After having spent last season with the Los Angeles Kings, his contract has expired and no new deal has been found, until now. [Svensson’s Blog, Mr. Madhawk] has been told that Enroth will sign with Toronto. Enroth and his agents have been in advanced discussions with the NHL team and the deal is all but signed.
Toronto signed Frederik Andersen earlier this summer, and as such, it is him that Enroth will compete with for playing time. The signing is expected to happen in the near future.
We had Enroth ranked very favourably in our post about potential free agent backup goaltenders. In fact, he was our top choice. He’s been a league average or above puck stopper for a significant chunk of his 147 game career and has a very respectable career quality start percentage of 55.5%.
There is an intriguing issue with him that makes him the antithesis of Frederik Andersen is the fact that he stands at just 5’10. Back in the day, that was pretty normal for a goaltender, but in this extremely technical era, that’s changing a bunch. If you can still perform despite it, nobody really bats an eyelash, but with equipment size reductions being in the cards this season, it’ll be interesting to see how Enroth reacts to new gear.
As for the validity of the report, Enroth a native of Stockholm, so it makes sense that the outlet that would break the story would be a bigger Swedish one like Expressen. At the same time, anybody breaking anything in Toronto is an extreme rarity these days. The two strongest rumours of the summer involving the Leafs were Steven Stamkos and Kris Russell, and neither of those materialized (at least not yet, with regards to Russell).
Like most backups, one should expect Enroth to be a transition goaltender, one who likely signs at a short term and low cap hit while the Leafs figure out which of their younger class they would like to have take a step further. At 28 years old, Enroth is far from a long-term piece, especially given his role. If financial details are the only remaining step in the negotiation process, then it’s likely that this week’s Salary Arbitration rulings will give the Leafs the cap parameters they need to adjust for before committing to the deal.
Enroth played 16 games with the Kings last season, posting a 7-5-1 record with two shutouts and a 0.922 save percentage. Enroth has previously played with the Dallas Stars and, more famously, the Buffalo Sabres.