It turns out Otto Leskinen’s time with the Canadiens isn’t over just yet as the Habs announced on Tuesday that they’ve signed the defenceman to a one-year, two-way contract. The deal is worth $750,000 in the NHL and $300,000 in the AHL.
Leskinen spent 2019-20 and 2020-21 in Montreal’s system after signing with the team as an undrafted free agent in May of 2019. He did see limited NHL action in both of those years, getting into six games with the Habs but spent most of the time in the minors. In his time with Laval, the 25-year-old had three goals and 36 assists in 85 games.
Last June, Leskinen signed with Jokerit of the KHL and played in 35 games there this season, notching four goals and 11 helpers. When they ceased operations late in the year, he moved to Tappara in the Finnish league, recording eight points in the final ten games of the regular season plus ten more in 15 postseason contests.
Just last month, Leskinen signed a two-year deal with Frolunda in Sweden (where he was expected to replace Mattias Norlinder who will play in North America next season) so this move comes as somewhat of a surprise. Instead of taking the chance to play there, he’s coming back to play on what could be a crowded Laval blueline next season, particularly on the left side.
Leskinen joins Norlinder, Gianni Fairbrother, and Arber Xhekaj as those under contract will be Laval-bound with Jordan Harris and Kaiden Guhle potentially in the mix as well as Corey Schueneman if he’s kept around. Clearly, the new management team sees something in Leskinen so it will be interesting to see what role they have in mind for him; it must be a good one for him to walk away from his deal in Sweden.