Toronto Maple Leafs 2015 NHL Draft Retrospective

2015 NHL Draft - Round One
2015 NHL Draft - Round One / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages
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65th overall - Andrew Nielsen

At 65th, the Leafs opted to address a need by grabbing towering defenseman Andrew Nielsen who was listed at 6-3 and 207lbs.

On the surface his low production (24 points in 59 games) combined with his triple-digit penalty minutes made him seem like the Leafs reached on a low-ceiling defender but he did have some positive attributes.

His production or lack thereof came on a poor Lethbridge Hurricanes team which was not conducive to racking up points. 

He also needed to work on his skating which if done, would help boost his NHL potential ceiling. After finishing his junior career on a high note racking up 70 points in 71 games he made the Toronto Marlies the following season.

He would continue to show improvements racking up 65 points in 139 games with the Marlies but after still not catching a break, the Leafs traded him to Brad Treliving’s Calgary Flames in 2018 for prospect Morgan Klimchuk.

He struggled to find his footing in Calgary for the Stockton Heat and did not produce near the rate he did in Toronto. He went on to sign a series of minor league deals starting in 2020-21 and bounced between the AHL and ECHL for a few seasons until he ended up playing in Norway and Slovakia this past season. 

We don’t know what is in store next for Nielsen but it looks like he probably won’t be NHL bound.