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What Zach Aston-Reese can do after Leafs sign him to PTO

Leafs invite a former Evolving Wild Selke Candidate to training camp

Toronto Maple Leafs v Pittsburgh Penguins
PITTSBURGH, PA - NOVEMBER 16: Zach Aston-Reese #46 of the Pittsburgh Penguins moves the puck in front of Nic Petan #61 of the Toronto Maple Leafs at PPG PAINTS Arena on November 16, 2019 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Photo by Joe Sargent/NHLI via Getty Images

The Toronto Maple Leafs have signed forward Zach Aston-Reese to a PTO for this September’s training camp that begins on the 22nd. Aston-Reese spent five seasons with the Pittsburgh Penguins before being traded to the Anaheim Ducks in the return for Rickard Rakell. The left shooting winger was undrafted and signed with the Penguins out of the NCAA (not Harvard).

This is a must-read, by the way:

In terms of what kind of player you can expect out of Aston-Reese, the simple answer is defense defense defense. A former Evolving Wild Selke Candidate, Aston-Reese was near the bottom of the league in zone start % at 5v5 last year. Not quite David Kämpf territory, but he was neighbours with Pierre Engvall and Ilya Mikheyev.

Aston-Reese’s defensive impact is also similar to that of Kämpf, though the Leafs centre has a little bit more offense and probably as much finishing ability. Last season especially, Aston-Reese didn’t shoot very much at all, for reference he contributed half as much in terms of shots and expected goals as Mikheyev.

So if Aston-Reese can impress at training camp and in the preseason, there could be a job for him on the Leafs. It won’t be to replace Mikheyev, but he’s going to be hoping to be the “next player up” on the fourth line to get third line minutes.

At the end of the day, Aston-Reese is a bona-fide NHLer and will get a job somewhere if it’s not the Leafs. I think he would be very useful on the fourth line with an offensive guy like Gaudette and a puck mover like Nicolas Aubé-Kubel.

The fourth line is coming together.

Poll

Where is Zach Aston-Reese on the first day of the regular season?

This poll is closed

  • 8%
    Signed and on the third line
    (108 votes)
  • 70%
    Signed and on the fourth line
    (913 votes)
  • 6%
    Signed by another team
    (80 votes)
  • 14%
    Signed and lost on waivers
    (189 votes)
1290 votes total Vote Now

Poll

How many teams does Aston-Reese play for this season?

This poll is closed

  • 0%
    0
    (6 votes)
  • 66%
    1
    (609 votes)
  • 25%
    2
    (229 votes)
  • 6%
    3
    (56 votes)
  • 0%
    4
    (2 votes)
  • 0%
    5+
    (8 votes)
910 votes total Vote Now