With the state of a potential 2020-21 season remaining up in the air, one member of the Leafs roster made the move to prepare for his arrival in Toronto.
#Jokerit and Mikko Lehtonen have mutually agreed to terminate the player’s contract. Next stop for him is Toronto.
— Jokerit Helsinki (@Jokerit_EN) November 20, 2020
This comes mere hours following updates regarding the state of recent meetings between the NHL and NHLPA in regards to negotiation on salaries. By no means does this guarantee a new season is happening, but Lehtonen wouldn’t have done this if there wasn’t any indication that he would get to play for the Leafs in 2021.
Chris Johnston of Sportsnet reported that there is a lot of uncertainty with the KHL in Finland due to Helinski shutting down events of over 20 people due to the ongoing pandemic, which is also a likely factor in Lehtonen making his way to Canada.
While Lehtonen’s campaign with Jokerit was shorter than expected, he still made the most of it by posting eight goals, nine assists, and 17 points in only 17 games played. Had it not been for a potential exposure to COVID-19 that put his season on pause for two weeks, the aforementioned numbers might have been even higher.
Now that Lehtonen will soon be on his way to Toronto, you can expect the likes of Joe Thornton, Denis Malgin, and Yegor Korhskov among others to follow suit and get prepared for a potential training camp sometime next month.
All stats unless otherwise noted are from HockeyDB.com.