The stalemate is finally over.
As training camp ticks by and the injuries continue to pile up for the Toronto Maple Leafs, the club and their unsigned young defender decided to bury the hatchet on Thursday morning, agreeing to terms on a two-year contract extension worth an average annual value of $1.4 million.
The deal, which ties Sandin to Toronto through at least the 2023-24 season, buys one restricted free agent season and arbitration season, while also carrying $1.6 million in salary in the second year to ensure that Sandin's qualifying offer is higher than his AAV.
And now, the Maple Leafs are set.
Sandin's holdout was the lone missing piece for the club entering into this season, with the Leafs reportedly having offered Sandin an identical two-year, $1.4 million AAV deal to the one fellow defenseman Timothy Liljegren signed back in June. Of course, Sandin rejected that pitch at the time, believing he could hold out for a slightly higher payday given his pedigree and importance to the organization. But after watching both Jordie Benn and Carl Dahlstrom go down with potentially long-term injuries in last night's preseason tilt versus the Montreal Canadiens, Sandin and his camp opted to take advantage of the opportunity instead.
The decision is a sound one for both parties.
With Liljegren on the shelf for the time being following hernia surgery and Jake Muzzin dealing with back discomfort, there is now room on the Maple Leafs' blueline for Sandin to grab a role and run with it, potentially forcing coach Sheldon Keefe to make some very difficult choices when everyone is healthy.
As the saying goes, though, you can never have too much depth. And if given the opportunity, Sandin is likely to make his $1.4 million cap hit look like a bargain in short time and blossom into the blueline staple the Maple Leafs envision him to be.