Toronto Marlies. Brendan Mikkelson – #4 with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins
Birthplace: Regina, Saskatchewan
How he got here: Drafted 31st overall, round two, 2005 by Anaheim. Claimed off waivers by Calgary. Traded to Tampa Bay. Signed with Pittsburgh. Given tryout by Toronto
Contract Status: Invited on a professional tryout.
A career bubble player, Mikkelson has seen NHL ice time with the Ducks, Flames and Lightning. He also previously played for the Marlies in 2009-10, as well as five other AHL franchises.
2013-2014 Season Recap
Mikkelson spent the season in the AHL playing for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, where he was a solid defensive presence who kicked in with some offence. In 73 games he potted 38 points, was +10 and had 60 PIMs. He saw 17 playoff games adding another six points.
Strengths and Weaknesses
A solid skater and puck handler allow Mikkelson to be a two-way defender.
He sometimes rushes trying to not make mistakes, which leads to other mistakes.
While he’s bounced around a lot, he has shown the ability to stay healthy and can be a solid fill in when injuries occur.
He’s a much better AHL defencemen than an NHL one, as he has only 10 points in 131 career NHL games.
Maple Leafs Depth Chart
While the theory is that Mikkelson is trying out for the Maple Leafs, he’s really trying out for the Marlies. Mikkelson isn’t going to knock off Phaneuf, Rielly, Gardiner, Robidas, Franson or Polak for a top six spot. Henrik Tallinder, also on a tryout, is much more likely to land the seventh defenceman spot.
If Robidas’ leg isn’t healed in time to start the regular season, the Maple Leafs may deploy Mikkelson due to his NHL experience over the top Toronto Marlies defencemen. Otherwise he’ll likely be signed to be a veteran presence in the AHL.
The only reason the Leafs may pass on him is due to the plethora of prospects they have on the back end.
Mikkelson comes from a family of hockey players. His sister Meaghan is a two-time gold medal winner for Canada while his father and great uncle also played in the NHL.
2014-2015 Season Potential
Mikkelson will be looking to nail down a contract with a strong camp that shows his usefulness. Depending on injuries and opportunities, his season could range from a regular role for the Maple Leafs to looking for another team to play for.
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