As we get set for a busy two days across the National Hockey League, we have an opportunity to look back at the important role the Toronto Marlies play in the development of Maple Leafs.
The Toronto Maple Leafs roster currently features seven Marlies graduates who were drafted by the Maple Leafs, developed with the Marlies and are now making an impact with the big club; Rasmus Sandin, Travis Dermott, William Nylander, Pierre Engvall, Frederik Gauthier, Andreas Johnsson and Morgan Rielly.
Rasmus Sandin – 2018 NHL Entry Draft, 29th overall
Rasmus Sandin came to North America in October of 2017 and made an immediate impact with the Soo Greyhounds of the Ontario Hockey League. The defenceman recorded 12 goals and 45 points in 51 games to lead all OHL rookie blueliners.
After being selected by the Maple Leafs, Sandin made the jump to the American Hockey League to continue his development with the Toronto Marlies. He recorded 28 points through 44 regular season games during his rookie season and added 10 points in 13 postseason contests.
The Uppsala, Sweden native made his NHL debut with the Maple Leafs on October 2, 2019. He recorded his first career NHL goal on January 27, 2020 in a 5-2 win over the Nashville Predators. Sandin earned himself some valuable NHL experience, appearing in 28 games in the blue and white this past season and registering eight points.
Travis Dermott – 2015 NHL Entry Draft, 34th overall
Travis Dermott was selected by the Maple Leafs in the second round (34th overall) of the 2015 NHL Entry Draft. The Newmarket, Ontario native joined the Toronto Marlies for the 2016-17 season following a successful major-junior career with the Erie Otters of the Ontario Hockey League.
Dermott finished his out his AHL rookie season with 25 points (5 goals, 19 assists) in 59 regular season games. The following season, Dermott had an impressive first half on the Marlies’ blueline which resulted in his quick ascension to the Maple Leafs. He recorded 13 points in 37 regular season games and scored his first NHL career goal on January 31, 2018 against the New York Islanders. After his extended stay with the big club, Dermott was loaned back to the Marlies in April for their Calder Cup Playoff run and registered 4 points (1 goal, 3 assists) to help the team capture their first Calder Cup Championship.
Dermott has played in 157 regular season games with the Maple Leafs and has registered 41 points.
William Nylander – 2014 NHL Entry Draft, 8th overall
Midway through the 2014-15 season, William Nylander touched down in Toronto from Modo in Sweden. It took the young forward just three games to score his first American League goal, opening the scoring against Utica in a 3-2 win on January 30.
Nylander would go on to record 32 points (14G, 18A) in 37 games that season and made five playoff appearances, earning three assists. He followed up that campaign with a stellar second season, producing at an above point-per-game rate with 45 points (18G, 27A) in 38 games and was named an AHL All-Star. He was recalled for 22 games with the Maple Leafs in the later part of the season before rejoining the Marlies for their Calder Cup run, scoring seven goals and 11 points in 14 games.
As he gets set to enter his fifth full season with the Maple Leafs, Nylander has 86 goals and 221 points in 307 games played and an additional 11 points in 20 playoff games.
Pierre Engvall – 2014 NHL Entry Draft, 188th overall
After spending two seasons in Allsvenskan with Mora IK, Engvall became a full-time Marlie during the 2018-19 season. The Ljungby, Sweden native skated in 70 regular season games and recorded 19 goals and 32 points and added seven points in 13 postseason contests.
After putting in time with the Marlies, Engvall got the call up to the big club and made his NHL debut with the Maple Leafs on November 19, 2019. He was in the midst of a breakout AHL season prior to being called up with 16 points in just 15 appearances.
Engvall scored his first career NHL goal on November 21 against the Arizona Coyotes. In 48 games with the Maple Leafs this season — his first in the NHL — Engvall recorded eight goals and 15 points.
Frederik Gauthier – 2013 NHL Entry Draft, 21st overall
After winning the Guy Carbonneau Trophy, awarded to the best defensive forward in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, Frederik Gauthier made his Marlies debut at the beginning of the 2015-16 AHL season. He scored his first goal in Lehigh Valley just six games into his pro career and has a successful campaign earning 18 points (6G, 12A) in 56 games before being recalled to the Maple Leafs for seven games at the end of the season.
Gauthier appeared in more games with the Leafs during his second season, skating in 46 games with the Marlies and 21 with the big club. He had four goals and 13 points for the Marlies that year, before scoring seven goals for the Marlies the following year when Gauthier helped lead the team to its first ever Calder Cup.
Gauthier had a breakout offensive performance throughout the 2018 Calder Cup Playoffs, recording eight points in 20 games, including the double overtime winning goal against Syracuse in Game 2 of the North Division Finals. He has since skated in 168 games for the Maple Leafs, tallying 13 goals and 18 assists.
Andreas Johnsson – 2013 NHL Entry Draft, 202nd overall
After a successful young career in Sweden, Johnsson joined the Marlies for the 2016-17 season where he recorded 47 points (20 goals, 27 assists) in 75 regular season games. The following season, Johnsson had a part-time stint with the Maple Leafs that included nine regular season games and six postseason contests. He scored his first NHL career goal on March 17, 2018 against the Montreal Canadiens.
A little over a month later, he was loaned back to the Marlies where he played an instrumental role in the team’s historic Calder Cup Championship run. Johnsson led the AHL in postseason scoring with 24 points (10 goals, 14 assists) in only 15 games, and received the Jack A. Butterfield Trophy as most outstanding player of the Calder Cup Playoffs. His performance earned him a full-time spot on the Maple Leafs roster for the 2018-19 season where he recorded 43 points (20 goals, 23 assists) in 73 regular season games. He scored his first career hat trick on November 24, 2018 against the Philadelphia Flyers.
Johnsson has appeared in 125 games for the blue and white and has recorded 30 goals and 67 points.
Morgan Rielly – 2012 NHL Entry Draft, 5th overall
The Vancouver-born defenceman made a brief stop with the Marlies in 2013, coming off the heels of a 54-point season with the Moose Jaw Warriors of the Western Hockey League just one year after being drafted fifth overall.
Joining the Marlies for their final stretch and Calder Cup push, Rielly wasted no time making his presence known, scoring his first goal in his first pro game, forcing overtime against the Chicago Wolves. Rielly would skate in fourteen regular season games for the Marlies, recording three points, before appearing in eight of nine games during the Calder Cup Playoffs.
Rielly joined the Leafs full-time the following year and has gone on to record 54 goals and 270 points in 517 career NHL games, all with the blue and white.