In signing the 19-year-old winger to his three-year entry-level contract Thursday, the NHL team finalized a development plan that will see Amirov travel to Toronto in the near future to start working with the organization’s development staff.
— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) April 15, 2021
That hasn’t happened yet because Amirov was already playing KHL games with Ufa Salavat Yulayev when Toronto selected him 15th overall in October.
“Unlike other years, he hasn’t even been here yet,” general manager Kyle Dubas said this week. “I think we were really happy with how his season went overall and thought Ufa did a really good job, especially with such a young player of bringing him along. He had the great tournament at the Karjala Cup, he had some ups and downs at the world juniors and then they really did a good job I felt developing him there.”
Amirov will travel to Toronto as soon as the Leafs secure his Canadian visa, which could take some time with the added complexities brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The organization is taking a patient approach with a player who was listed at six-foot, 167-pounds on his draft day. Amirov will be loaned back to Ufa for the 2021-22 season after working with the Leafs development staff, according to his agent Dan Milstein, and could also end up in Russia again for 2022-23 as well.
His entry-level contract calls for him to be loaned back to the KHL that season if he's not on the Leafs' opening night roster, or if he’s assigned to the American Hockey League at any point.
Amirov has committed to spending the 2023-24 season in Toronto — either with the Leafs or Marlies, or some combination of the two.
His deal doesn’t include performance bonuses, which will make him easier to recall from a salary-cap perspective. Rasmus Sandin and Nick Robertson have signed similar contracts with the Leafs in recent years. Under the terms of the deal, Amirov will receive a maximum $92,500 signing bonus each season while being paid a salary of $832,500 or $80,000 at the NHL and AHL level, respectively.
Now that he’s signed, the next order of business is to get him to Toronto so that the Leafs can take a more active role in his development process.