Not stopping with the signing of Michael Paliotta yesterday, the Toronto Marlies continued to shore up their depth spots on Saturday with the signings of Joshua Winquist and Matias Cleland to two-way, AHL/ECHL contracts.
On the surface, both of these moves seem to be on the peculiar side to some, if only because the Marlies have a nearly full roster even if you only include their veterans and their entry-level prospects. But call-ups happen, injuries happen, and most importantly, if you can find somewhat young players to join your organization without digging into your running contract total, you take the chance while you have it.
That’s what these two bring. Both players are on the bubble as far as being able to justify themselves under the “prospect” label at the age of 23, but there’s still a slight bit of room for them to grow.
It’s not like they’re lacking track records of outside success, either. Winquist, for all intents and purposes, is a reliable top-six forward at the AHL level, that can play at both left wing and centre. The 5’11 native of St. Albert, Alberta has put up 62 points in his last 86 AHL games with the Bakersfield Condors and Bridgeport Sound Tigers and was well over a point per game in an 18 game stint in the ECHL in 2014/15. His production in those Age 21-23 years is likely a lot more noteworthy than what some other players that age have earned ELC’s for, so to be able to get him without one is nice.
Cleland is a bit of an unknown at the professional level but has had an encouraging NCAA career. The left-handed defenceman played 157 games over four years with the University of New Hampshire, becoming their captain last season while putting up 36 points in 40 games; the fourth highest points-per-game in the nation behind Adam Fox (Calgary), Daniel Brickley, and Gavin Bayreuther (Dallas).
Ultimately, its hard to pencil these guys in for guys in for guaranteed roster spots due to the sheer amount of signed players at the team’s disposal, but they’re both very likely to be good AHLers on the talent spectrum.