Heading into the stretch run of the season, the Toronto Marlies have signed defenceman Joseph Duszak and Eemeli Rasanen to professional tryout contracts
Duszak agreed to a future two-year entry-level contract with the Maple Leafs on Wednesday. Because the two sides won’t officially sign the contract until the summer, the Marlies announced that Duszak would be signing a tryout contract with them.
The 21-year-old led all NCAA defenceman in scoring with 47 points in 37 games. That mark was better than former No. 4 pick Cale Makar. Duszak also finished third among all players in scoring this season.
More from Tip of the Tower
- Toronto Raptors rumours: Victor Oladipo would be an intriguing addition
- Toronto Raptors 2020 NBA Draft Preview: Why Grant Riller is an ideal target
- Toronto Blue Jays: Should they consider bringing back Aaron Sanchez?
- Toronto Raptors: Fred VanVleet has every right to want big payday
- Toronto Blue Jays: Ross Atkins remains focused on adding impact free agent
Rasanen has had a difficult season playing overseas for Jokerit in the KHL. He missed time with an undisclosed injury suffered in October. He had a brief conditioning stint with Kiekko-Vantaa – a Finnish second-tier team – before returning to full-time action with Jokerit.
When healthy, Rasanen was used sparingly, only appearing in 12 regular season contests in the KHL. He registered just a goal and an assist on the year. He made just one appearance in the postseason.
The 6-foot-7 defender was one of the bright spots of the Leafs’ 2017 draft class. He was praised as a player to watch for the future due to his solid play with the Kingston Frontenacs.
Rasanen still has one year remaining on his KHL contract. Due to him playing in Russia, there’s no definite date as to when the Maple Leafs will lose his rights, according to Cap Friendly. However, the defender will likely sign his three-year ELC once his second season with Jokerit comes to an end.
After playing under 20 combined games to date this season, it may take him a while to get back to form.
Both players could have a considerable impact on the Marlies down the stretch. Both Andreas Borgman and Calle Rosen are injured currently and don’t appear to be close to returns.
The Marlies had been using ECHLcall-up Kristians Rubins on the blue line for the last few games. While he’s done an admirable job – even getting an assist in his first career AHL game – the two new additions would almost certainly replace him in the lineup.
Duszak will be looking to continue his strong run of play this year when he takes to the ice with the Marlies. Rasanen, on the other hand, will be looking to finish off a rough season on a good note.