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Toronto Marlies re-sign two defenders

Noel Heofenmayer and Matteo Pietroniro are back for another year after a successful Growlers season.

Maine Mariners vs. Newfoundland Growlers Staff photo by Ben McCanna/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images

Both Matteo Pietroniro and Noel Hoefenmayer played most of the season on the Newfoundland Growlers.

Hoefenmayer, 23, recorded 40 points (13 goals, 27 assists) through 46 games with the Newfoundland Growlers (ECHL) this past season. He also picked up four goals and 12 assists in 19 playoff games. The Toronto native appeared in eight games with the Marlies, collecting three assists. He was originally drafted 108th overall in the fourth round of the 2017 NHL Entry Draft by the Arizona Coyotes.

Pietroniro, 23, played in 59 games with the Growlers in the 2021-22 season, registering five goals and 22 assists. The Boise, Idaho native had three assists in 19 games in the Kelly Cup Playoffs. Pietroniro also appeared in three games with the Marlies this past season.

With these two signings, the Marlies have seven defenders, which is not nearly enough for an AHL and ECHL pair of rosters. They will get some NHL-contracted defenders like Carl Dahlström, Mac Hollowell, Mikko Kokkonen and Axel Rindell, all players who will be considered for the top four on the Marlies. It’s likely a lot of the youth will once again be in the ECHL where they will see how far they can go towards making it impossible not to call them up. Hoefenmayer is already there on points, and might get some more AHL games this year.

Every year, it seems like the Leafs/Marlies/Growlers have too many defenders, and every year, they end up needing them all, so this won’t be the last signing or re-signing.


Centazzo, 22, registered 51 points (28 goals, 23 assists) through 51 games with the Newfoundland Growlers (ECHL). He was fourth overall in goals (28) amongst ECHL rookies. In 18 playoff games, the Marwayne, Alberta native recorded 15 points (8 goals, 7 assists).

Johnstone, 25, appeared in 58 games with the Growlers this past season, registering 21 points (7 goals, 14 assists). The Cranford, New Jersey native had eight points (4 goals, 4 assists) in 19 games in the ECHL postseason. Johnstone also appeared in four games with the Marlies.

Suthers, 24, recorded 13 points (5 goals, 8 assists) in 30 games with the University of Maine (NCAA). The Tecumseh, Ontario native split his NCAA career with the University of Maine and St. Lawrence University, skating in 127 games and collecting 47 points (21 goals, 26 assists). Prior to his NCAA career, Suthers appeared in 120 career USHL games between the USNTDP Juniors, Muskegon and Dubuque.

Keenan Suthers is the new member of the team, the other two were on the Growlers last year.

He has played four seasons over five years in the NCAA, and nearly matches famous Marlie Curtis Douglas in height. At 6’8” he’ll be the second tallest player on his team, unless he starts in Newfoundland. The knock against the top percentile of NHL players in height is that they’re slow and lack lateral agility. Douglas isn’t slow, but does have areas of his game he needs to improve on. He won’t deke out someone at the net front either. It will be fun to compare the two towering Marlies this year.