The Toronto Maple Leafs have announced that defencemen Filip Kral and Kristians Rubins have been signed entry-level contracts with the organisation.
While the future of the 2019/20 season is up in the air, the Toronto Maple Leafs have been proactive in locking up some of their defensive prospects, securing entry-level contracts with Filip Kral and Kristians Rubins.
Kral, a 6-foot-1, 172lbs left-handed blueliner was originally a fifth-round (149th overall) selection by the Leafs in the 2018 NHL Draft.
He was selected after a season where he moved over to North America for the first time, having spent his entire career in his home of Czech Republic, registering nine goals and 35 total points in 54 regular-season games with the WHL’s Spokane Chiefs.
Kral represented his country at the World Junior Championships that season, as well as the following year, continuing his development with the Chiefs for two seasons after being picked by the Leafs organisation.
All-in-all, he registered 120 points (31 goals, 89 assists) in 154 regular-season games in juniors, being handed the alternate captain’s ‘A’ during the 2019/20 season, his best to date.
Now, aged 20, the Toronto Maple Leafs clearly feel that the young defenceman has a promising future at the professional level, having signed him to a three-year entry-level deal.
While no financial terms have been revealed by the team, CapFriendly has him tentatively earning $925,000 should he play in the NHL – the most allowed for an ELC.
Along with Kral’s signing is Rubins, who is more of a known quantity at the professional level, having already featured for the Leafs’ ECHL affiliates the Newfoundland Growlers as well as their AHL affiliates the Toronto Marlies.
Rubins went undrafted, playing originally in the Swedish development system before moving over to join the WHL’s Medicine Hat Tigers for two seasons before turning pro.
After two years in Medicine Hat, Rubins featured in 15 regular-season games with the Marlies but spent the majority of the 2018/19 season with the Growlers. He played 56 regular-season games and contributed to the team’s Kelly Cup championship in their inaugural season, playing in 17 playoff games in the process.
The Latvian’s progress across that season led to him becoming more of a regular with the Marlies, for whom he played 47 regular-season games for before the curtailing of the season due to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic.
He has great size at 6-foot-4, 220lbs and could develop into a depth option at the NHL level if he can continue his promising development. In the same fashion as Kral, Rubins’ two-year contract details have not been officially announced and will be updated on CapFriendly when they become apparent.
Both of these signings will help the team’s development system in the short term, while the NHL club will keep a close eye on both defencemen to see if they have a shot at contributing in the big league.
What do you think of these signings Leafs fans? Are you pleased to see the team locking up some promising young players? How badly are you missing hockey? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!