The Toronto Marlies have announced the signings of four players.
They’ve inked CHL FAs Noel Hoefenmayer and Jeremy McKenna to two-year AHL deals.
In addition, the team also inked NCAA FAs Gordie Green and Bobby McMann to two-year AHL deals.
Here’s what you need to know.
Noel Hoefenmayer is a fantastic signing for the system. Hoefenmayer was picked 108th overall by the Arizona Coyotes in 2017.
The defenseman is very notably a high-risk, high-ceiling prospect. He’s known for being an offensive defenseman, that’s what got him selected in 2017. He put up 40 points in 62 games in his draft year (good for 11th among U19 Defensemen), and after a down year, went off for 62 points in 68 games. His overage year saw him put up a whopping 82 points in 58 games.
However, Hoefenmayer is a very raw prospect. His skating is likely why the Coyotes opted not to sign him. It’s his biggest weakness by far and is what’s limited him throughout his junior career. Another issue is that Hoefenmayer hasn’t put the defense in defenseman yet. His defensive game is notably weak. There is concern that he benefited from age and playing on a stacked Ottawa 67s team, he’ll look to clear that doubt next year.
Noel Hoefenmayer will likely spend the season with the Newfoundland Growlers. By signing him, the organization knows they’ll have to utilize their resources to bring him to the next level. He’ll likely work with the likes of Barb Underhill, as he tries to improve what’s regarded as his biggest weakness. He definitely has NHL potential, he’ll try to find it with the Leafs.
Jeremy McKenna is another superb signing by the organization. McKenna is a very skilled playmaker and goalscorer. He was passed over during his draft year even though he was projected to get drafted. His draft year saw him finish 5th in scoring among U19 QMJHLers, behind only Max Comtois, Filip Zadina, Alexis Lafreniere, and Joseph Veleno. His 36 goals and 71 points in 68 games were also good for 4th in goals among the same group.
McKenna has a great shot and is a great playmaker. He’s improved his offensive production in each of his 4 QMJHL seasons, as he was on pace to match or even top his previous year’s offensive production this year. He’s not as raw of a prospect, and at 20 years old, he could be part of the Leafs’ plans soon enough. He was set to sign a deal with the Calgary Flames last season and his deal with the Stockton Heat was made official, however, it looks like he opted to spend another year in Junior.
McKenna will likely spend at least the first season of his two-year deal in Newfoundland, where he’ll look to carry over his production to the pros. He could definitely see some time with the Marlies during his first year.
Gordie Green is another promising find for the Marlies. Not only does he have one of the most legendary hockey names of all time, but Gordie Green is also a great player. Green led Miami University in scoring for the second time, with 14 goals and 36 points in 34 games. His 14 goals were good enough to have him lead the team in goal-scoring for the 3rd time.
His career-high performance put him at 3rd in scoring in the NCHC and landed him on the conference’s 2nd All-Star Team. At 5’8, he’s earned some comparisons to one of last year’s best signings, Colt Conrad. This might be a stretch, but I consider Green a player in the Trevor Moore mould. He definitely looks like someone who is suited to be a bottom-six player in the NHL. He’s a smaller player who definitely has his frame filled out and is known for having skill, while also being a great forechecker and can score the ‘dirty’ goals.
He, just like his comparable Colt Conrad, will likely start the season with the Newfoundland Growlers. He’s a bit older at 23, meaning his development time will probably be shorter, but I do believe he’ll be able to make the jump to the Marlies during his two-year deal.
I’ll give the organization this, they’re definitely finding the best hockey names. Bobby McMann is another great pickup by the Marlies. His 10 goals and 20 points were good enough to lead Colgate University in points and goals for the 3rd season in a row. The forward has been able to use his 6’1 frame effectively to become a great two-way talent. The captain and former alternate captain of Colgate University leaves the program with 92 points in 142 games. His talent, skill, and defensive prowess make him a perfect candidate to be a solid bottom-six forward in the NHL one day.
The 23-year-old turns 24 in June, the Hobey Baker nominee will likely start the season in Newfoundland. If his game carries over to the pro level, I think he could find some time in Marlies blue and white during the first year of his two-year deal.
Overall, as the Toronto Marlies make their splash in NCAA and CHL FA, they’re doing an absolutely fantastic job. All of these guys have significant upside and all of them could’ve warranted an ELC, some more than others. The two-year deal means they have more time to develop in the organization and I think all of the players signed are very promising.
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