The Toronto Marlies made signed defenceman Noel Hoefenmayer and winger Jeremy McKenna something the Toronto Maple Leafs could benefit from.
In a pretty slow news week, the Toronto Maple Leafs development system made a couple of intriguing signings with defenseman Noel Hoefenmayer and right-winger Jeremy McKenna getting AHL deals with the Toronto Marlies.
The latest signings come days after Filip Kral and Kristians Rubins were signed to entry-level deals with the rest of the CHL season coming to an unfortunate end because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
At a time where teams are in a wait and see position when it comes to the fate of the regular season, the Leafs are trying to operate as close to business as usual.
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Now while neither player is guaranteed an NHL contract, Toronto will give them a chance to work on and improve on skills that kept them from getting there. It has been an avenue of success for players who went from being undrafted to playing a role with the Leafs.
Hoefenmayer was originally drafted by the Arizona Coyotes in the fourth round of the 2017 NHL Draft but never signed an entry-level deal. As an overage, the 21-year-old led all CHL defencemen with 82 points, the offensive ability is clearly there but there are areas the North York, Ont., native has to work on like skating and signing with the Leafs will give him a chance to work on that.
For McKenna, he returned to the Moncton Wildcats for a fourth season finishing with 40 goals and 82 points in 57 games and was hoping to make a run at the Memorial Cup before it got cancelled. He tried to make the jump to pro hockey but was unable to crack the Stockton Heat roster.
"“After the season, I was looking for a job for next year and (this) came up,” McKenna told the Journal Pioneer. “I am excited to join the Marlies and be a part of the Toronto organization … it’s one of the best organizations in hockey.”"
Both will likely start their careers with the Newfoundland Growlers depending on how they do at the rookie tournament and minor league-training camp. It will be interesting to see where both players end up considering the Leafs are willing to provide opportunities for undrafted players in recent years.
What are your thoughts on the latest signings? Where do you think they start the season? Let us know in the comments below.