The Toronto Maple Leafs have brought back Denis Malgin, signing the Swiss forward to a one-year contract, according to Kevin Weekes.
As Malgin had three years remaining on his contract in Switzerland, the Maple Leafs had to sign him by Friday or he would have been ineligible to come back to the NHL this season, per the NHL-NL transfer agreement.
The Leafs retained Malgin’s rights from the 2020 season having qualified him as a restricted free agent. Acquired in the infamous trade with Florida involving Mason Marchment, Malgin only played eight games with Toronto before the COVID pandemic hit and he returned to Europe.
In the past two seasons, Malgin has reminded teams of his two-way upside. He’s been an elite scorer in the Swiss league, scoring 21 goals and 52 points in 48 games with Zurich last season. In the playoffs, Malgin also led his team in scoring with 18 points in 17 games.
Malgin really stood out at the World Championships, playing alongside Detroit’s Pius Suter. He scored five goals and 12 points in eight games for Switzerland, finishing top five in tournament scoring.
It’s easy to forget given how long he’s been around, but Denis Malgin is still only 25 years old. He broke into the NHL at 20 years old and had some solid results in a bottom-six role with the Florida Panthers at that age. In 192 NHL games, Malgin has scored 28 goals and 60 points, a rate of 0.31 points per game. That’s adequate scoring for a fourth line.
Malgin is a low-risk signing to bring him back to the NHL and someone that could provide some much-needed speed and transition skill in the bottom six. If Malgin were a European free agent, I think a lot more people would be excited by this move.
Simply put, the Maple Leafs need multiple depth options that can chip in at the NHL level. Malgin exactly fits this description, and whether he plays a full season in the NHL or goes down to the Marlies, his upside as a useful bottom-six player for what is expected to be around league minimum is a solid move for the Leafs to make to bring him back.