The Toronto Maple Leafs inked 2015 third round pick Andrew Nielsen to an entry-level deal earlier during the 2015-16 season, rewarding the offensive blue liner when he hit his point totals from the year prior in almost 30 fewer games.
Now, with his 2016 post-season behind him, the defenseman will join the Toronto Marlies to finish out his spring.
The Marlies inked Nielsen to an ATO on Monday evening, bringing him and forward Chase Witala onto the roster as they look to end their dominant year on a high note. Both Witala and Nielsen will be eligible to play with the Marlies in their next game, and carry them through the post-season.
Nielsen will join the AHL affiliate after his second season with the WHL’s Lethbridge Hurricanes, during which he led the club’s blue line in scoring with 70 points in just 71 games. His 18 goals more than doubled the Red Deer native’s goal production from the year prior, and his 70 points were good for a 46-point jump from a 59 game 2014-15 campaign.
Chase Witala, on the other hand, will come on board as a graduating overage player from the WHL’s Prince George Cougars, where he finished with over a point per game for his second straight season. The 20 year old left wing led his club in scoring with 79 points in 71 games, then contributed with three points in four games during Prince George’s post-season run in the WHL playoffs.