In the hour leading up to puck-drop on the team’s final preseason game, reports surfaced that the Toronto Marlies have added some big-time reinforcements to their roster as they gear up for their 2018-2019 campaign.

Sam Gagner

After being placed on waivers by the Vancouver Canucks, and subsequently going un-claimed, it appears Sam Gagner won’t be reporting to the Utica Comets, but instead to the Toronto Marlies, which was first reported by Sportsnet’s Rick Dhaliwal and Elliotte Friedman, and later confirmed by the club.
Gagner, who recorded 50 points with the Columbus Blue Jackets two years ago, could be a huge boost to the Marlies lineup.
Here’s a look at what the Marlies lineup could look like with Gagner in the fold:
Timashov–Gagner– Grundstrom
Moore–Brooks–Bracco
Engvall–Mueller–Cracknell
Marchment–Jooris–Clark
With the addition of Gagner, the knee-jerk reaction from some Marlies observers could be something along the lines of;
Will this stall a prospects development?
That’s a complicated question, but by the looks of it, I’d say no.
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With the exception of Brooks, the Leafs don’t have any AHL-eligible centres with the Marlies, anyway. So, in lieu of that, the addition of Gagner is for the purpose of adding a quality veteran who can accelerate the young talent that the Marlies have brewing on their wings.

Ryan Sproul

The second move of the day was the signing of defenceman Ryan Sproul to a PTO. Sproul, 25, spent the last little while with the Calgary Flames on a PTO, but was released six days ago.
Sproul split his 2017-2018 campaign with the Detroit Red Wings and New York Rangers organization’s, suiting up for 18 contests with the Rangers, in the process.
With Justin Holl graduating from the Marlies (at least for the time being), there’s a void on the right-side defence, and it appears Sproul, if he fares well on his tryout, could be the missing-piece to the puzzle, for the team’s D-core.
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Here’s what the Marlies D-core could look like with Sproul in the mix:
Rosen–Liljegren
Borgman–Subban
Nielsen/Sandin–Sproul

Conclusion

With some of the key-cogs from last years Calder Cup championship graduating on to the Leafs–such as Andreas Johnsson, Martin Marincin and Justin Holl– the two moves made today show that the team is still invested in surrounding their young prospects with quality veterans.
Which is exactly what the Leafs AHL affiliate strives for, because as they showed last year, winning and development can go hand-in-hand.