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Leafs Trade Andrew Nielsen to Flames for Morgan Klimchuk

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The Marlies shed an excess defender and add a forward.

NHL: Preseason-Winnipeg Jets at Calgary Flames Candice Ward-USA TODAY Sports

The Toronto Maple Leafs announced tonight that they have traded defenceman Andrew Nielsen for left winger Morgan Klimchuk.

Morgan Klimchuk, 23, looks like a decent AHL-calibre scorer, with 40 points in 62 GP last season. Scouts speak highly of his two-way ability and his work ethic, and he certainly has respectable AHL production, but he’s often characterized as a “jack of all trades, master of none” type without much ceiling—and by this point, he should be pretty near whatever ceiling he has. The 2013 first round pick (he went 28th that year) has exactly one NHL GP to his credit thus far, and without a standout skill and in an organization with a deep supply of NHL wingers, this seems purely like an AHL acquisition. One fascinating note: he played in the WHL with centre Adam Brooks for a time, and the two seemed to do well together.

Morgan Klimchuk via Elite Prospects

Season Team League GP G A TP PIM Playoffs GP G A TP PIM
Season Team League GP G A TP PIM Playoffs GP G A TP PIM
2008-2009 Calgary Bisons Bantam AAA AMBHL 32 13 22 35 10
2009-2010 Calgary Bisons Bantam AAA AMBHL 28 33 19 52 44 Playoffs 13 18 13 31 12
2010-2011 Calgary Buffaloes Midget AAA AMHL 32 27 23 50 12 Playoffs 2 0 0 0 0
Team Alberta CWG 6 3 1 4 2
Regina Pats WHL 5 0 1 1 0
2011-2012 Regina Pats WHL 67 18 18 36 27 Playoffs 5 0 1 1 2
Canada Pacific U17 WHC-17 5 2 4 6 0
2012-2013 Regina Pats WHL 72 36 40 76 20
Canada U18 Hlinka Gretzky Cup 5 1 0 1 4
Canada U18 WJC-18 7 3 5 8 6
2013-2014 Regina Pats WHL 57 30 44 74 27 Playoffs 4 3 2 5 2
Abbotsford Heat AHL 4 0 0 0 4
WHL All-Stars Jr Super Series 2 0 1 1 0
2014-2015 Regina Pats WHL 27 14 16 30 12
WHL All-Stars Jr Super Series 2 0 1 1 0
Brandon Wheat Kings WHL 33 20 30 50 12 Playoffs 13 3 10 13 2
2015-2016 Stockton Heat AHL 55 3 6 9 10
2016-2017 Stockton Heat AHL 66 19 24 43 36 Playoffs 2 0 0 0 0
2017-2018 Calgary Flames NHL 1 0 0 0 0
Stockton Heat AHL 62 19 21 40 24
2018-2019 Stockton Heat AHL 16 3 5 8 8

Andrew Nielsen was selected 65th overall in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft, and he stirred hopes in the fanbase for a time with impressive point production and a heavy shot. But Nielsen’s skating and defensive game never developed as hoped, and this year he was struggling to get consistent ice time on a deep Marlies’ defence group. His chances of the NHL have to be considered remote at this point. He has appeared in only eight games for the Marlies this season.

All in all this looks like a straight up positional trade: the Marlies have room at forward and had a surplus at defence, and so they made a move to redress the balance. Hardev, Species and Kevin will keep an eye on Klimchuk in his Marlies play and let us know what to make of him in their Marlies coverage.

Welcome, Morgan, and godspeed, Andrew.

Edited to add:

Carl Grundstrom on the left and Klimchuk on the right. From Prospect-Stats.com. 16 GP for each.

Recognizing that the Heat are not a very good team, Klimchuk is still obviously AHL help, not a prospect of note.