The Toronto Maple Leafs inked their first and second round draft selections from the 2015 NHL Entry Draft — at least, one of their two draft selections — early on this off-season; both Mitch Marner (selected fourth overall) and Travis Dermott (34th overall) were inked to entry-level deals before the 2015-2016 regular season had even begun.
The team had a whole slew of prospects to watch from their 2015 draft, though — and just a quarter of the way through the current season, two more players were locked up.
[email protected] Player Alert: The #Leafs have signed 2015 draft picks Andrew Nielsen and Dmytro Timashov to entry level contracts. #TMLtalk
— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) November 23, 2015
Selected 65th overall at the start of the third round the summer, defenseman Andrew Nielsen is currently in his third season with the WHL’s Lethbridge Hurricanes. The Red Deer, Alberta native has already matched his point totals for last year, though; the left shot blue liner has an identical seven goals and 17 helpers in both the 2014-2015 and 2015-2016 campaigns, but he’s sitting a full 36 games in hand on his season appearances from the first of the two runs.
Through 23 regular season games with the major junior club, Nielsen — who stands at 6 foot 3 and 207 lbs — is fourth in scoring on his club and leads his club’s defensemen. He’s also second overall in WHL scoring by a defenseman — although he’s two games in hand on the current leader, Joe Hicketts, who boasts 26 points in 25 games.
The Leafs also inked a much later round pick to an entry level deal with the signing of 5 foot 10 left wing Dmytro Timashov, who went 125th overall in the fifth round of the draft this summer.
Unlike Nielsen, Timashov isn’t poised to double or triple his point totals from last season — but that’s because he finished his rookie season with the Quebec Remparts with 90 points in 66 games. As the top scorer for Quebec last year, Timashov has come back without veteran Anthony Duclair (who played a half season with the Remparts in the 2014-2015 campaign) and is only continuing to improve his point totals — just not at the rate of Nielsen.
The Russian-Swiss forward currently boasts 41 points over 23 games for his club, which puts him back at the top of his club in scoring (by a full nine points) and sixth in the QMJHL with four games in hand. The only skater who has put up more points in as many or fewer games is Arizona Coyotes prospect Conor Garland, who boasts 47 points in just 21 games played on the year.
Both skaters, with entry-level deals signed, would be eligible to skate for either the Toronto Maple Leafs or the Toronto Marlies of the NHL and AHL (respectively) once their major junior seasons have come to a conclusion.