Broken first by his agent:

And confirmed by Sportsnet:

Kurtis Gabriel is a man of many facets. He’s marched in the Toronto Pride parade, he’s used the warmups only Pride tape in a game, and he’s a member of the Hockey Diversity Alliance.

And he’s also this guy:

Gabriel is 28, a right wing who is listed at 6’4” and 200 lb. He’s played in 319 AHL games and 49 NHL games over his career, and he has 153 penalty minutes in those NHL games. He also has five points in those NHL games.

The most succinct explanation for this signing is that he’s a Scott Sabourin replacement who will likely clear waivers no problem, but may well end up on the NHL roster some of the time.

On the Marlies, he would join a long list of players of a similar type who have played for the team while it was under the direct supervision of Kyle Dubas. This is not new or an “overcorrection” or anything other than business as usual on the Maple Leafs and Marlies under Dubas.

Gabriel appeared in only 11 games on the Sharks last year, one of the worst teams in the NHL, so he’s likely to be a preseason game distraction, and then a frequent face at practices the way Sabourin was last year.

Represented by the agency that looks after all the Russians the Leafs like to sign, he’s a unique person in the NHL. He really does believe hockey is for everyone, and he lives it, he doesn’t just talk it.