The Toronto Maple Leafs Sign Jacob Quillan - But Who Is He?

Quinnipiac v Boston University
Quinnipiac v Boston University / Richard T Gagnon/GettyImages

The Toronto Maple Leafs announced Monday that they have signed NCAA free agent center, Jacob Quillan. His two-year entry-level contract begins next season (2024-25) and he will join the Toronto Marlies for the remainder of the season on an amateur try-out contract (ATO).

The Toronto Maple Leafs newest player has spent the past three seasons with Quinnipiac University of the NCAA. Qunnipiac captured the NCAA Frozen Four championship last year with Quillan scoring the championship clinching goal, upsetting Matthew Knies’ Minnesota Gophers squad in the process.

He has racked up solid individual accolades to go with his championship win, being named tournament MVP last year and winning ECAC defensive forward of the year this season.

Although not a prolific scorer, Quillan has shown his tremendous work ethic by going from a depth player on the Bobcats in his freshman year to their first line center in his junior year and sporting an alternate captaincy “A” on his jersey. He went from producing nine points in 36 games in 2021-22 to a career high 46 through 39 games this season. Quillan was featured in my 6 College Free Agents The Toronto Maple Leafs Could Sign article from last month.

Who Is He?

Toronto Maple Leafs Sign NCAA Free Agent Jacob Quillan

As evidenced by the individual accolades and his production, Jacob Quillan is a competent 200ft player who can play both special teams units. He has pro-level skating and possesses a dual-threat scoring ability.

At 5-on-5 he will likely top out as a bottom-six forward but may be able to develop some elements that could give him the Pontus Holmberg/Bobby McMann ability to slot up and down the lineup temporarily. 

It is important to remember that every year dozens of NCAA free agents are signed and never play an NHL game. So, he will be a work in progress but his game seems to be on the more projectable side if he can continue his sound defensive play and adapt his offense to the pro game. We have seen this play out before, a recent example is Bobby McMann who has worked his way up to a permanent NHL role now at 27-years-old.

The most likely path for Quillan is that he spends the rest of this season and next playing for the Marlies and could push himself into the call-up conversation after that. Ideally, he will be pushing into a depth role for the Leafs by the end of his ELC, again either as a call-up option or as a more permanent fixture. There is a clear path to the NHL for him if he can develop properly with only five forwards currently under contract beyond next season.

Either way you look at the signing, acquiring him didn’t cost a draft pick or trade asset, only an SLC slot. Signing him deepens the Leafs prospect pool and whether he turns out to be an contributing NHL player, a tweener, or just an AHL depth piece, it is a valuable signing. 


The Leafs also have the opportunity to lock-up Quillan's teammate Collin Graf who is another NCAA free agent standout and has attracted plenty of attention from NHL teams.