Maple Leafs Prospects Watch: Andrew Nielsen Could Join The Marlies Soon


With their loss on Friday, the Lethbridge Hurricanes were eliminated from the WHL playoffs ending any hope of a Maple Leaf prospect representing each league in the Memorial Cup this season. Andrew Nielsen had his breakout junior season come to an end when his team was upset by the Regina Pats in the opening round, but the loss could end up being a huge opportunity for the 19-year-old defenseman

No official announcement has been made by the organization, but there is speculation that Nielsen will join the Toronto Marlies in the next few days to add some depth for the playoffs.

Nielsen is still junior eligible next season, but he will be 20 in November so he also has the ability to play in the AHL. A short tryout this spring could give him the head start needed to make the AHL team as a regular next season. At 6’3 210lbs, Nielsen definitely has the size to make the jump to the next level, but it will be a matter of deciding whether or not his skating has improved enough to fit in with the higher level of competition. 

This season saw Nielsen take a huge leap in his performance. Playing a bigger role on Lethbridge, his point total grew exponentially, finishing 3rd in WHL scoring among defenders. The point per game pace has a lot of Leaf fans gushing over the 2015 third round pick, but expectations need to be tempered. The knock on Nielsen has always been his skating and it is still a weakness. He will have to improve his foot speed to ever become an impactful NHLer, but at 19 he has a lot of time to develop.

Timashov and Dzierkals Rolling

The two Leafs prospects in Quebec have been great through the first round of the QMJHL playoffs. Martins Dzierkals contributed a goal and four assists in Rouyn-Noranda’s first round sweep of Drummondville while Timashov has been incredible for Shawinigan. Timashov has nine points through the first round as his team moved on with relative ease eliminating Sherbrooke 4-1. 

OHL Playoffs Rolling Along

  • Stephen Desrocher is on to the next round as Kingston easily eliminated his former team, the defending Memorial Cup Champion Oshawa Generals
  • Jeremy Bracco and the Kitchener Rangers made short work of the Windsor Spitfires winning the series 4-1. Kitchener had a bit of a rough second half to the season but looked very impressive in the first round. Bracco leads the team with 10 points in the first five games of the playoffs.
  • Over in London, Mitch Marner and the Knights are having a lot more difficulty with Owen Sound than many expected. Marner has been great with 11 points through five games, but after being the hottest team in the CHL for months, it wasn’t expected that London would need 6+ games to get through the first round. 
  • Thanks to a heavy reliance on the top two lines in London, JJ Piccinich has seen a diminished role in the playoffs. He has produced just three assists in his five games.
  • Travis Dermott was great in a first round sweep of Saginaw. The Erie blueliner led the way with 8 points and looked like a dominant force on just about every shift. 
  • On the flip side, Nikita Korostelev has not had much of an impact at all as his Sarnia Sting are on the verge of being upset by the Soo Greyhounds. The team lost Travis Konecny to a shoulder injury and have received almost no support from their secondary players like Korostelev. 

Semi-Final Time in Sweden

The matchups are set for the second round of the SHL playoffs. Maple Leafs prospect Andreas Johnson’s Frolunda team will face off against Lulea. Frolunda won the regular season series 3-1 and if the playoffs go much longer, Leaf fans can rule out an appearance from Johnson with the Marlies this season.

    • Harte of a Lion

      Not going to happen as London is going deep. Next year 9 games w/Leafs then back to London. 2018 he should be with the Leafs full time based on his skill set.
      The only way he plays for the Marlies is his body isn’t ready for the NHL or for a conditioning stint.

      • Benjamin

        Seriously, you or anyone else have a decent reason why Marner wouldn’t be better served by a Calder Cup run? Or why going back and manhandling teenagers for the THIRD straight season isn’t the height of lunacy?

        Otherwise it’s patently obvious that you’ve never seen Marner play. If you had, you’d realize that he’s never going to be some 200 lb grinder, and you’d realize that he is way too smart and talented for that to matter. And by the way, half of the NHL’s top 10 scoring forwards this year are 5’11” (Marner’s height) or under.

        Top Euros are playing in men’s leagues when they’re 17 yo. And somehow we’re terrified of (almost) 19 yo Marner doing the same thing. Ridiculous.

          • Benjamin

            Gotcha. But that’s why I said ‘this season’, in an article titled “[Under-aged CHL player] could join Marlies soon”, no less. The only obstacle is London going deep.

            Heck, maybe London does and this is moot. But they got taken to 6 games first round by a pretty mediocre team (also noted in this article). Plus they recently lost Jones to a lengthy suspension. So hopefully Kitchener gives them the boot. Bracco could use a deep OHL playoff run way more than Marner.

      • Benjamin

        No way marner goes back to the OHL, already has 2 seasons with 110 points, no way a 3rd is happening.

        Marner also isn’t eligible to play for the marlies which means he should be in the NHL next season. Maybe babacock sends him down for a conditioning stint in the AHL in the start of the season but….#Marner4Calder2017

    • Gary Empey

      To have your comment trashed is almost unbelievable.

      How can so many members of Leaf Nation be so out of touch with the modern game.

      Mich Marner on the wing with William Nylander is an orgasm waiting to happen.

  • magesticRAGE

    I bet Nielson plays for the Marlies, better access to Barb Underhill.
    I’m looking forward to see Timoshov and Johnson rip it up with the defending champ Marlies, Desrocher too. If Valiev stays down (which I see happening), the D-core will be absolutely stacked! Exciting times!

  • magesticRAGE

    I bet Nielson plays for the Marlies, better access to Barb Underhill.
    I’m looking forward to see Timoshov and Johnson rip it up with the defending champ Marlies, Desrocher too. If Valiev stays down (which I see happening), the D-core will be absolutely stacked! Exciting times!

  • Gary Empey

    Andrew Nielsen

    Most improved Leaf prospect this season. While his skating looks a little awkward , he can skate with decent pace with power.

    Toughest player in the WHL

    Best defensive defenceman in the WHL when drafted by the Leafs.

    At training camp he was asked if he could improve his offensive game.

    Finished three points back of Ivan Provorov, the WHL’s top-scoring defenceman.

    Made the Eastern Conference First All-Star Team.

    Able to leap over tall building in a single bound.

    I have no idea what his Corsi is and I don’t give a F***.

    • magesticRAGE

      Come on Gary don’t sit on the fence tell us what you really think. Solid posting as usual. Btw that mug shot looks like a deranged picture of Rodney Dangerfield. Then again he always looked deranged.

  • Gary Empey

    You tend to think a lot of players foot speed will hinder them from NHL success… Skill overcomes speed ala Tavares… Look at Connor Brown to slow 6pts in 7 games and hasn’t looked out of place. But great read none the less

  • SEER

    I think that he still has some improvement to make with his skating.., but other than that, he is a really good prospect for us… And there’s many more..! : )

    D-Line Rock: Andrew Nielsen 2015-16 Highlights – TML



    Another hugely requested, 2016 NHL Draft video, for you…

    Mostly known as a defensive style D-man.., Day can also put up some points, but makes a lot of behind the play actions that result in GF…, even though he doesn’t always reach the stats sheet for his contributions..

    Sean Day/ Defense/ shoots L/ Born Jan 9 1998/ Leuven, Belgium/
    18 yrs. ago/ *Height 6.03/ *Weight 230

    RECENT STATS: (*Up to April 3rd 2016)

    2013-14 Mississauga Steelheads – OHL
    60 Games… 6 Goals… 10 Assists… 16 Points… -35
    2014-15 Mississauga Steelheads – OHL
    61 Games… 10 Goals… 26 Assists… 36 Points… -27
    2015-16 Mississauga Steelheads – OHL
    57 Games… 6 Goals… 16 Assists… 22 Points… -13

    Dutiful Day: Sean Day 2015-16 Highlights – 2016 NHL Draft Prospect