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Toronto Marlies sign a pair of defenders to AHL deals

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They might be destined for St. John’s, given the Marlies crowded blueline.

Calgary Flames v Montreal Canadiens Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images

The Toronto Marlies have signed two defenders, Michael Kapla and Ryan Johnston, to AHL deals.

This is the season for AHL signings, and this time the Marlies found someone who isn’t going to be shocked by a St. John’s winter if he ends up there. It’s very likely that any defender added to the Marlies is going to the ECHL, since the team has eight defenders on NHL deals and then a few more on AHL contracts, but both of these players look like quality AHL depth signings. The battle will be on in training camp.

Ryan Johnston is a veteran of several teams and leagues, and he went from three years in the NCAA to an ELC with the Canadiens as a free agent signing. While there, he played two seasons on the St. John’s IceCaps, their AHL affiliate at the time. Since then, he’s played two seasons in the SHL putting in top four minutes.

With his experience, he could well be a good depth defender on the Marlies, but he’s going to need to bounce someone out of a spot in the lineup to do it. He’s a right-shooter, 27 years old, and the younger brother of Calgary Inferno and Team Canada star Rebecca Johnston.

It is extremely interesting that the Marlies will have a man on the blueline who has experienced the Swedish defence style for himself.

Michael Kapla is another AHL veteran, although he’s only 24. He’s got four years of NCAA experience and has played two years in the AHL on the Binghamton Devils and the Iowa Wild after being signed as a free agent by the New Jersey Devils in 2017. He’s a left-shooting defender who was swapped over to the Wild last season in a trade. They chose not to qualify him as an RFA.

Welcome to the team, guys, and we sure hope we have some Habs essence remover left over from the Plekanec trade.