Photo Credit: Christian Bonin/TSGPhoto.com
The Toronto Maple Leafs haven’t fallen for the final word in Free Agent Frenzy just yet, but it appears that they’ll be rewarding from within at some point today. The team is expected to sign Toronto Marlies defenceman Justin Holl to a two-way deal in the immediate future.
Expect #Leafs to announce 1 yr, 2 way deal with D Justin Holl. Impressed w/ Marlies. Former 2nd round CHI pick could see NHL games next yr.
— Andrew Walker (@FAN590Walker) July 1, 2016
Holl, for all intents and purposes, was this year’s Byron Froese as far as Marlies go. The 24-year-old native of Tonka Bay, Minnesota was brought on as an AHL signing back in July and was originally projected to end up on the Orlando Solar Bears. However, he impressed in camp, made the opening night roster, and never left.
In 60 regular season games, Holl had 5 goals and 16 assists, along with 15 penalty minutes and a +32 rating. He spent the bulk of the year playing with Eddie Shore Award winner TJ Brennan, playing on his right side as a right-handed shot. He also contributed four assists in fifteen playoff games.
Holl is a very interesting player to take a chance on. Many felt him to have promise in the past – he was a second-round pick of the Chicago Blackhawks in 2010 – and he was a positive asset for the Marlies last year. If nothing else, he’ll continue to help that team succeed next season, but it’s definitely possible to see him come up in the event of injury next year, thanks to his handedness. He’s also someone who you don’t lose much sleep over if you put him in front of the waiver cannon. Given the mass of contracts the Leafs have walked away from today, using one in this way doesn’t seem like it will come with much consequence.