3 Marlies who may be poised to graduate to the Maple Leafs in 2024-25

Nick Matthews
May 15, 2024  (2:32 PM)

Toronto Marlies
Photo credit: Maple Leafs Hotstove

Following in the footsteps of Bobby McMann, three members of the Toronto Marlies are in a position to challenge for a roster spot with the Maple Leafs next season.

The Leafs have a large number of players listed as UFAs next year. Where better to look than their farm team to help fill a vacancy or two?
Alex Steeves, Ryan Tverberg and Topi Niemela are 3 players to watch this fall, as a strong training camp could very well earn one or more of them a legit chance at a roster spot at the NHL level.
Let's start off with the most NHL-ready player in the group in Alex Steeves. Steeves has always looked like a force during his 3-year stint with the Marlies and is the only player mentioned that has played some NHL games. He's fast, strong, can score and play in any situation. I think the question here isn't if he makes the big club next season, but how many games he plays in the NHL.
AHL rookie Ryan Tverberg, a former Hobey Baker Award nominee, is already looking like an absolute steal for a 7th round pick. This late bloomer put up a staggering 32 points in 46 games this year for the Marlies. Welcome to pro hockey, Ryan - it looks good on you.
The 22-year-old Tverberg clearly has NHL-level work ethic, all he needs now is a shot to show it off with the big club. I expect Tverberg to get a few games this year with the Leafs to see what he can do at the NHL level - though I don't expect him to start in the NHL. He's more likely an injury replacement to start.
Former 3rd round draft pick Topi Niemela led all Marlies defensemen in points this year with 39 PTS in 68 GP. Niemela is used to playing against full grown men as he has played 4 seasons for Karpat of the SM-liiga as a teen. He is clearly a tremendous skater and after more time getting used to the North American-sized ice, he could be an impact player for the Leafs on the blueline.
Since neither Easton Cowan, nor Fraser Minten, played games for the Marlies this season, they've been excluded from this exercise. However, I'd imagine both are earmarked for front-of-the-line opportunities with the Leafs next season.
15 MAI   |   317 ANSWERS
3 Marlies who may be poised to graduate to the Maple Leafs in 2024-25

Which player mentioned is most ready for the NHL next season?

Alex Steeves12840.4 %
Ryan Tverberg237.3 %
Topi Niemela8125.6 %
All 38526.8 %
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