Laurence Gilman took over the Marlies from Kyle Dubas recently, and he’s made his first moves as GM of the team, signing seven players to AHL deals.
Clark is 25, a left-shooting LW who has split the last three pro seasons between the AHL and ECHL after starting out post-OHL with two strong ECHL campaigns. He’s a very high penalty-minute forward, which would be unusual on the Marlies. He may well spend some time in Newfoundland.
Elynuik is 20, was drafted but never signed by the Hurricanes. They took him 74th overall in 2016. He is a left-shooting centre who has finished five years in the WHL, surging to 73 and 86 points in his two final years.
Estephan has played against the Leafs a couple of times in pre-season games for the Buffalo Sabres, who drafted him in 2015 in the sixth round. He is 21, a right-shooting centre, and he has just finished five seasons in the WHL. In his last three years in junior, he was a 30-goal scorer and he had 23 points in 26 games for the Swift Current Broncos in this year’s playoffs.
Moore is 21, a left-shooting centre or winger, who has played for three teams over five seasons in the OHL. In 2016-2017, he was on an ATO with the Orlando Solar Bears and played in six of their playoff games.
In his later seasons in junior, Moore has generated a lot of points, heavy on the assists, but as a small player, who just doesn’t quite have NHL-level stats, he was never drafted.
O’Brien is 26, and is from St. John’s Newfoundland, a fact that is likely very significant. He is a right-shooting centre and winger who has had a good AHL and ECHL career beginning in the LA Kings organization in Manchester and Ontario right out of junior hockey. He tried part of one season in Germany, but he returned to play in the ECHL that year.
Jardine is 24, a left-shooting defender, and he was signed by the Marlies last year out of training camp. He spent the season in Orlando, and is still on their reserve list, meaning for the Marlies to send him to the Growlers, they’ll have to make a deal for his rights. They do that routinely in the ECHL, and given the logjam of defenders in the AHL, the Growlers seems to be where he will spend most of his time.
LeBlanc is 22, a left-shooting defender, and he spent last season on the Rocket in Laval. Despite that name, and the season in Quebec, he is from Ontario and played for the Mississauga Steelheads for four years before joining the Rocket. He didn’t put up a lot of points in the AHL, but he’d always had a reasonably decent assist rate in the OHL.
New boss seems to be the same as the old boss. He’s picking mostly junior standouts who aren’t quite NHL-level, and he’s going for young players the Leafs organization can develop, with an emphasis on defenders and centres. The Growlers might be one of the youngest teams in the ECHL this year. And the Marlies could have a very interesting stable of potential call-ups.
Training camp will decide who plays where this season, but the expectation is that most of the Growlers will be players on AHL contracts.