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

2008-2009Calgary Bisons Bantam AAAAMBHL3213223510
2009-2010Calgary Bisons Bantam AAAAMBHL2833195244Playoffs1318133112
2010-2011Calgary Buffaloes Midget AAAAMHL3227235012Playoffs20000
Team AlbertaCWG63142
Regina PatsWHL50110
2011-2012Regina PatsWHL6718183627Playoffs50112
Canada Pacific U17WHC-1752460
2012-2013Regina PatsWHL7236407620
Canada U18Hlinka Gretzky Cup51014
Canada U18WJC-1873586
2013-2014Regina PatsWHL5730447427Playoffs43252
Abbotsford HeatAHL40004
WHL All-StarsJr Super Series20110
2014-2015Regina PatsWHL2714163012
WHL All-StarsJr Super Series20110
Brandon Wheat KingsWHL3320305012Playoffs13310132
2015-2016Stockton HeatAHL5536910
2016-2017Stockton HeatAHL6619244336Playoffs20000
2017-2018Calgary FlamesNHL10000
Stockton HeatAHL6219214024
2018-2019Stockton HeatAHL163588

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:

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