Toronto Maple Leafs: Organizational Center Depth Gets A Boost

The Toronto Maple Leafs have had the organization’s center depth boosted with the renewal of Joseph Blandisi’s deal with the Toronto Marlies.

While it’s a low-key move in the greater scheme of things and one that will likely have zero impact for the Toronto Maple Leafs; the renewal of Blandisi is certainly useful.

Not least because it helps create some sense of continuity on a Toronto Marlies roster that has been a little bereft of it in recent seasons, with countless graduations, waiver losses and more recently Rich Clune’s retirement.

By renewing Blandisi, the organization have kept a player that has 101 games of NHL experience (per Elite Prospects), spread between the likes of the New Jersey Devils, Anaheim Ducks and Pittsburgh Penguins in the fold.

Blandisi Can’t Easily Be Promoted To the Toronto Maple Leafs

Granted, it’s a depth signing for the organization, but perhaps a slightly frustrating element of it all is the fact that should injuries occur, Blandisi won’t easily be able to suit up in the NHL.

This because the deal he has signed is an AHL contract, rather than an NHL one. Of course, the Leafs can sign a new deal on the fly but to do so will require contract space, clearance of waivers and most importantly cap space.

Rest assured, this is a signing of a player with enough quality to be a minor role player in an NHL line-up, but is willing to sign a minor-league contract with an organization he clearly feels valued by; the one closest to his hometown of Markham, Ontario.

In fact, his signing last season came about as the result of a professional try-out with the Marlies; he may feel some debt of gratitude to the Toronto Maple Leafs organization for helping continue his career in North America.

Indeed, his AHL record has him having notched 188 points (71 goals and 118 assists) in 259 career games (per TheAHL.com) – he knows how to get the job done at this level.

Perhaps the biggest feather in Blandisi’s cap is that Alex Steeves was often playing on the same line as him (which was often the top line) and earned himself a promotion to the Toronto Maple Leafs and a debut in the NHL.

At least some credit should go to the experienced hand there for ensuring that Steeves stood out enough to get such a chance.

Of course, this isn’t to belittle the efforts of Steeves in earning that chance, but it highlights why the Toronto Maple Leafs organization wields its financial muscle and prestige to sign borderline NHL players to their AHL affiliate.