After a rather silent NHL Trade Deadline which saw the sole addition of Nic Petan, the Toronto Maple Leafs got back to work after their game against the Calgary Flames on Tuesday morning, signing goaltender Garret Sparks to a one-year contract extension.
It all started when Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet.ca reported in the early hours of Tuesday morning that a one-year deal was in the works for the backup to Frederik Andersen while also noting that the salary would be within the $750K range.
The agreement was then made official with a club announcement a short time later, confirming the terms of the deal which is set to kick in at the beginning of the 2019-20 regular season.
In taking a look at Garret Sparks, the 25-year-old native of Elmhurst, Illinois has appeared in 14 games with the Maple Leafs thus far, recording seven wins and five losses, while also adding one tie and one shutout to his resume.
Sparks also owns a 3.09 Goals Against Average as well as a .902 save percentage through a total ice time that consists of 795 minutes. As for the entirety of his NHL career as a whole, the American netminder has appeared in a total of 31 games, recording 13 wins and 14 losses, while also adding two shutouts and two ties to his resume.
Sparks was originally selected by the Toronto Maple Leafs in the seventh round (190th overall) of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft. Since then, he has spent time playing with the Guelph Storm of the Ontario Hockey League before eventually making his NHL debut at the beginning of the 2015-2016 regular season.
Following his three-year tenure with the Guelph Storm in southwestern Ontario, Sparks joined the Toronto Marlies of the American Hockey League where he added 28 wins and 10 losses before making his NHL debut in November.
In a statement from the young backstop with regards to the deal, he said during Tuesday’s morning skate in Vancouver, “I won’t lie — it’s been a tough year. But I think it’s made me a better athlete and a better goaltender. I’d rather go through this stuff now than a portion of your career where you’re being relied on as a starter.”
In continuation, he would then go on to say, “It’s amazing to be able to come here and deal with success and struggle and triumph ultimately. I’m just looking forward to continuing to play this year, get a few more starts and hopefully build something.”
In closing, Sparks would wrap up in saying, “When you’re young and an impressionable goalie, the goalie that’s in front of you, you start to absorb a lot of that. And I’m just fortunate to have him out there and learn from him and watch him on a daily basis. But at the same time, it makes the comparison that much more challenging. You have to live up to the greatness that he brings every day.”
During his time in the American Hockey League, Garret Sparks was named a recipient of the Aldege (Baz) Bastien Memorial Award as the league’s outstanding goaltender last season after leading the AHL in goals against average (1.79), save percentage (.936) and wins (31) as well. He also helped the Toronto Marlies en route to their 2018 Calder Cup championship.
In a statement from head coach Mike Babcock with regards to the agreement, he said, “He’s just got to grow his craft. That’s the biggest thing. Every day they let you stay in the league’s a good day and you just keep improving and if you improve enough, you get to stay for a long time. It’s evident when you look around the league, it’s hard to be a goaltender in the NHL, it’s hard to be a good one. So his priorities are just keep working, build his skill base so he becomes a real good goaltender.”
As noted by TSN.ca, Sparks, who was scheduled to become a restricted free agent in July, becomes the third pending restricted free agent the Maple Leafs have extended for a cap hit below $800,000 this season.
With this in mind, he joins Trevor Moore ($775,000 for two seasons) and Calle Rosen ($750,000 for two seasons). Another long-term deal that came to completion at the beginning of February was Auston Matthews on a five-year contract extension worth a total salary of $58.17 million.
With Sparks now locked up for another season with the Maple Leafs, it paves way for Toronto to sign their five remaining restricted free agents on the 23-man roster which includes the likes of Mitch Marner, Kasperi Kapanen, Andreas Johnsson, Nicolas Petan as well as Igor Ozhiganov.
That was not the only transaction that Kyle Dubas had his eyes on from Boca Raton as he also managed to lock up Andreas Borgman to a one-year, two-way contract extension on Wednesday morning.
The agreement was made official with a club announcement a short time before noon while it is set to kick in at the beginning of the 2019-2020 regular season.
According to Chris Johnston of Sportsnet.ca, the young defensemen is set to earn an NHL salary of $700,000 over the lifetime of his brand new contract.
In taking a look at Andreas Borgman, the 23-year-old native of Stockholm, Sweden has yet to appear in an NHL game this season, however, he has seen plenty of action with the Toronto Marlies of the American Hockey League.
In 39 games played up to this point, Borgman has scored four goals and 11 assists, making for 15 points registered in his second season with the Marlies. He also adds 34 penalty minutes and a -2 Plus/Minus rating to his resume.
As for the entirety of his NHL career as a whole, the left-handed defensemen has scored 3 goals and 8 assists, making for 11 points registered in 48 games played. He also adds 28 penalty minutes and a Plus/Minus rating of 4 to his resume.
Borgman was originally signed by the Toronto Maple Leafs back in May of 2017. Since then, he has seen time playing with HV71 Jonkoping of the Swedish Hockey League before eventually making his NHL debut at the beginning of the 2017-18 regular season.
Following his three-year tenure in Jönköping, Sweden, Borgman joined the Toronto Marlies of the American Hockey League where he added nine points in 25 games played after having made his NHL debut in October.
Following their 3-2 loss to the Vancouver Canucks on Wednesday night, the Toronto Maple Leafs return to action on Saturday night at Rogers Place as they pay a visit to the Edmonton Oilers at 7:00pmET. The game can be seen on Sportsnet Ontario, NHL Network as well as the Canadian Broadcast Corporation, meanwhile, it can be heard on TSN Radio 1050 Toronto.