The Toronto Maple Leafs have signed two of their 2015 draft picks to entry-level contracts today, putting pen to paper with Andrew Nielsen and Dmytro Timashov.
Nielsen was Toronto’s third-round pick, selected 65th overall from the Lethbridge Hurricanes after scoring 24 points in 59 games with the WHL team. A left-handed defenceman, Nielsen has already matched his previous point production from last season in just 23 games played. The native of Red Deer is estimated by CHLStats to be leading the Hurricanes in ice time at approximately 24 minutes per game.
Timashov was selected by Toronto in the 5th round last year and was immediately hyped up to be one of the biggest steals of the draft. Not overly hyped due to his smaller stature, the Ukranian winger picked up 90 points (including 71 assists) in 66 games in his first QMJHL season with Quebec last year, leading his team and just barely missing the top ten in the league. This year, he’s reached new heights, scoring 13 goals and adding 28 assists in just 23 games. Timashov is 6th in his league in points this year.
As for why these contracts were signed now? There’s probably not a logistical reason for it. If I had to guess, it might be to give the pair their signing bonuses as a reward for a fantastic start.