My favourite name in the prospect system is finally signed to a deal. Not an ELC, but hey, you take what you can get in this industry.
The Latvian Legend, the nickname I just gave to Martins Dzierkals, signed a one-year deal with the Toronto Marlies today. Which essentially means they can keep an eye on him without committing to an NHL contract.
Also, he’s from Ogre, Latvia. Wonder if Dzierkals has layers, too?
— Toronto Marlies (@TorontoMarlies) August 14, 2017
Last season, Dzierkals played with the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies of the QMJHL. He scored 49 points in 47 games.
His full stats on EliteProspects can be seen here:
A 2015 third-round pick, Dzierkals has spent the last two years in the QMJHL after playing his draft years in Latvian and Russian junior hockey.
Dzierkals’ contract is pretty obvious: it’s a “show-me-what-you-can-do-deal.” I’m not going to pretend I saw Dzierkals live 40 times or anything, but it’s clear this kid has a little bit of skill and is also in need of development. Giving him the AHL experience without committing to his NHL future is a fair move, plus he’s young enough that it’s possible to ship him out elsewhere if things don’t work out.
In my opinion, the so-called “Too many wingers” “problem” is more affecting guys like Dzierkals than say JVR. In some teams lacking a deep forward group, Dzierkals may very well fit into a top-10 prospect role. But in a team like Toronto that is full with a bevy of young talent on the front end, Dzierkals clearly was not worthy enough of earning one of the team’s 50 contracts and thus was stuck with the one-year deal.
Here’s Dzierkals from prospects camp:
We’ll see what he does this year with the Marlies. Will he make it into our top 20 prospect rankings? Honourable mentions? Stay tuned!