The Toronto Maple Leafs have added a piece for the future.
The Maple Leafs became the latest team to lock in one of their prospects on Wednesday, announcing that the club has signed defenseman Mikko Kokkonen to a three-year entry-level contract. Kokkonen was draft by Toronto in the third round of the 2019 NHL draft, 84th overall.
The deal, which will kick in ahead of the 2022-23 season and run through 2024-25, carries an average annual value of $846,666 at the NHL level.
Despite just signing his first professional contract, Kokkonen has already gotten his feet wet in the Maple Leafs organization previously, skating in 11 games with the AHL's Toronto Marlies in the 2021 season during which he racked up one goal and six assists.
The 21-year-old is coming off a successful campaign with the Lahti Pelicans of the Finnish Elite League, with Kokkonen tallying one goal and 15 points as a young defenseman playing against grown men.
Kokkonen has experience on the international stage as well, having represented Finland at two World Junior Championships in his short career. In 2020, Kokkonen registered two goals in seven games in his first tournament before following it up with a sophomore effort that featured one assist in seven games at the 2021 event, ultimately capturing a bronze medal.
With this deal now signed, Kokkonen will likely join the Marlies on a tryout contract for the remainder of the season to help the AHL affiliate on their run to the playoffs. Given the Maple Leafs' depth at the position, Kokkonen likely won't jump up into their NHL blueline anytime soon. But the prospect has an intriguing set of tools that he can develop down on the farm. And the organization certainly hopes that he will factor into their future plans in due time.