The Toronto Marlies have agreed to terms with two players today, signing Denver Manderson and Brett Findlay to one year AHL contracts. Terms of the deals are not known at this time.
Who Are These People?
We’ll start with Manderson. The oldest of the two at 25 years old, the Fergus, Ontario native is a right handed centre. He played 21 OHL games over four seasons with the Guelph Storm and Kitchener Rangers (where he was teammates with Nazem Kadri), but the bulk of his junior experience comes from the BCHL, where he played 115 games and put up 221 points. In his final season, Manderson scored 40 goals and added 73 assists in 50 games.
After his BCHL run, Manderson headed to Europe, playing with HeKi (now Peliitat Heinola) in Mestis, the second highest league in Finland, where he tallied 33 points in 46 games. He also played in the European Trophy tournament for Austrian club Red Bull Salzburg, scoring a goal and an assist in five games played.
In 2011/12, Manderson made the North American Professional leap, jumping to the Wheeling Nailers (they’re a real team, I promise). Over 86 regular season and playoff games to date, Manderson has scored 75 points. This year, he made a jump to the AHL, playing 36 games for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins and putting up 11 points. Manderson, who is 5’10 and weighs 175lbs, is likely to spend some time with the Orlando Solar Bears this season.
Findlay appears to have the greater potential upside of the two. The obvious reasoning for this is age; he’s only 21 years old, though he turns 22 in a few weeks. He spent three years in the Ontario Hockey League, putting up back to back 20 goal seasons with the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds (including in Leafs Assistant GM Kyle Dubas’ first year as Greyhounds GM). In his final season, Findlay headed to the Peterborough Petes and scored 46 points in 68 games.
In his professional career, Findlay has yet to cross over from the ECHL, but his production appears to be on the upswing. After a six game preview in 2012/13, Findlay played his first full season this year, scoring 22 goals and adding 32 assists in 69 games. Twenty five of those points came in the final 32 games, upon moving from the San Francisco Bulls to the Alaska Aces. That pace gave him the 5th highest points-per-game on the team, who went on to win the Kelly Cup. Findlay is a left handed shot, and plays left wing.
The Marlies are far from a completely built team at this time, so it’s hard to say where they’ll be in the lineup, or what league they’ll end up in. But, if nothing else, they add some depth and competition. Now that the Solar Bears are a multi-year and exclusive affiliate, it wouldn’t be too shocking to see the Leafs organization sign more players on this end of the spectrum to give their affiliates as many options as possible.