Looking Back at the Toronto Maple Leafs 2018 NHL Entry Draft

TORONTO, CANADA - FEBRUARY 15: Rasmus Sandin #38 of the Toronto Maple Leafs celebrates a goal against the Chicago Blackhawks during an NHL game at Scotiabank Arena on February 15, 2023 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The Maple Leafs defeated the Blackhawks 5-2. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)
TORONTO, CANADA - FEBRUARY 15: Rasmus Sandin #38 of the Toronto Maple Leafs celebrates a goal against the Chicago Blackhawks during an NHL game at Scotiabank Arena on February 15, 2023 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The Maple Leafs defeated the Blackhawks 5-2. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images) /
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Toronto Maple Leafs Prospects Impress Despite Marlies Early Exit
DENVER, COLORADO – DECEMBER 31: Pontus Holmberg #29 of the Toronto Maple Leafs . (Photo by Jack Dempsey/Getty Images) /

6th Round, 156th Overall – Pontus Holmberg

For the first time in the draft, Dubas left the CHL and went overseas when he drafted Pontus Holmberg from the Swedish Hockey League.

This selection may end up being the steal of the draft and Dubas must have known it as he traded the Leafs 2019 sixth round selection to the Buffalo Sabres to be able to draft Holmberg.

The Swedish forward was overlooked in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft after playing throughout the Swedish junior divisions.

In his post draft year he was able to dress for two games with the Växjö Lakers HC of the Swedish Hockey League against men, which caught the eyes of the Maple Leafs.

After being drafted, Holmberg would stay in Sweden for three more seasons before he signed a two-year entry level contract with Toronto.

In his first season of his contract he wold be loaned back to Växjö where he averaged almost a point per game as a 22-year old.

At the end of that 2021-22 season he came over to play in a half dozen games with the Marlies and joined them permanently in 2022-23.

Holmberg started the years with the Marlies, however was called up to the Maple Leafs in early November and became a mainstay in the line-up until shortly before the trade deadline.

Holmberg played primarily as a fourth line center and in a penalty kill role.  He was often complimented by coach Sheldon Keefe for never making a mistake.

The now 24-year old was eligible for arbitration this past summer, but elected to sign a one-way two-year contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs worth an average of $800,000 per year deal.