The Toronto Maple Leafs announced the signing of 2018 draftee Filip Kral to a three-year entry-level contract on Wednesday. The 20-year-old Czech native was selected in the fifth round (149th overall) in GM Kyle Dubas’ first draft as Leafs GM and is the fourth player from that class to be signed to a professional deal.
Kral had a career-high 49 points (12 goals, 37 assists) in 53 games as an overager for the WHL’s Spokane Chiefs (WHL) last season and represented the Czech Republic in the IIHF World Junior Championships in 2018 and 2019.
Filip Kral scores his 5th of the year and adds an assist as Spokane falls to Everett 4-3. Kral has 18 points in 16 games #WHLpic.twitter.com/KdaLCA0ZYF
The Leafs faced an signing deadline with Kral, who would have been eligible to re-enter the NHL Draft had he not been signed by June 1 (unless the deadline was delayed by the league shutdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic). The blueliner is eligible to play with the Toronto Marlies next season, who will likely lose Rasmus Sandin and Timothy Liljegren to the parent club.
The club also signed 22-year-old defenseman Kristians Rubins to a two-year entry-level deal. The 6’4”, 221 lb. Latvian was signed to an ECHL contract in 2018 after going undrafted following two seasons with the WHL’s Medicine Hat Tigers and split time between the Newfoundland Growlers and the Marlies in 2018-19.
Rubins was signed to an AHL contract last summer and registered 14 points (2 goals, 12 assists) in 47 games for the Marlies last season. The Leafs appear to have hopes that the big left-hander could develop further over the next couple years in the AHL and in a best-case scenario bloom into an NHLer like current Leaf Justin Holl.
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