Prospect Ramblings: July Prospect Contract Signings

Brayden Olafson

2020-07-24

 

While normally this time of year, NHL clubs would be cracking open their checkbooks to some of their new draftees, the month of July 2020 has been somewhat engaging in the world of prospect contract signings as several teams have made previously rumored deals official. I touched on a few of the significant deals last week after the Canucks inked Jack Rathbone and the Isles locked up Russian netminder Ilya Sorokin for two years. This week we’ve got a few more to dig into.

 

In a rough order of least interesting to most interesting, the following prospect deals were announced & posted over the course of the last eight days:

 

Sean Malone – 1 Year @ $750k (2-way), Nashville Predators

This deal is pretty insignificant in terms of it’s relevance to most readers. The 25-year-old Harvard graduate signed in 2016 with the team that drafted him in 2013, the Buffalo Sabres. After one lackluster rookie season in Rochester, he was renewed to an AHL-only deal with the Amerks where he’s made the necessary adjustments to remain valuable and earned praise over the last year as an extremely tough-to-play-against center. He is not a supremely skilled forward and will never make a significant offensive impact at 5-on-5 in the NHL, but there is value in other aspects of his game.  His heavyweight reps in the AHL obviously gave David Poile and the Predators pro-scouting group some indication that he may have what it takes to bring that game to the next level, and they’ve taken their shot. There’s a decent chance that Malone sees NHL ice next season, but there’s very little growth potential in this file. 

 

Teemu Kivihalme –  2 Year @ $725k (2-way), Toronto Maple Leafs

Slighty more significant than the Malone contract, Kivihalme is a defenseman who joined the Leafs organization after being unsigned by the team who drafted him, the Nashville Predators. After leaving Colorado College, Kivihalme found offensive success in the Liiga while playing for Karpat. His development overseas garnered significant free-agent attention and he was ultimately brought into the fold in Toronto. Throughout the course of his first season back in North America, the now 25-year-old became recognized as a reliable two-way defender on the Marlies, and by the end of the year found himself promoted to the teams top pairing. The most significant aspect of this signing may be that the Leafs have added Kivihalme to their extended playoff roster, meaning that there is a curious slim possibility of him getting further exposure this post-season. In any case, he certainly has earned the additional committment, and could rise to the status of fringe NHL defenseman by the end of it. 

 

Sean Day – 1 Year @ $700k (2-way), Tampa Bay Lightning

The second chance that Julien Brisbois has blessed Sean Day with is slightly more interesting than the previous two deals for a couple of reasons. The first, being the most obvious is that Day is a former exceptional status player who garnered significant attention in the OHL, only to freefall on draft boards due to a significant lapse in his development, production and essentially, buy-in. After a troubling final few years in the OHL, and little growth in the AHL, Day became a fixture and a project for Riley Armstrong and the Maine Mariners. His pedigree and the glimmer of hope that was shown wit