Toronto Maple Leafs 2015 NHL Draft Retrospective

2015 NHL Draft - Round One
2015 NHL Draft - Round One / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages
6 of 11

68th overall Martins Dzierkals

Up to this point in the draft, the Leafs seemed to go back and forth between projectable players to higher upside guys.

Since Nielsen fit the former, at 68th they took Latvian winger Martins Dzierkals. Heading into the draft, Dzierkals turned heads at the world U-18s as he lead Latvia in scoring with nine points in six games and finished tenth tournament wide.

Before that he played admirably in the Russian Junior MHL and in Latvian juniors. He was on the smaller side at 5’11 and sub-170lbs but he had solid tools that the Leafs development staff could build from.

After his draft year he came to North America and played for the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies in the QMJHL. There, he was able to adjust to the different ice surface and playstyle and scored at a respectable rate finishing his junior career with 45 goals and 116 points in 109 games. 

After he turned pro, things did not look so optimistic. He failed to secure a spot for the Marlies and spent his rookie year with the Orlando Solar Bears of the ECHL. There, he produced 36 points in 51 games and was held pointless in four games with the Marlies.

The following season he went over to Europe and played primarily in the KHL. Since then, he has bounced around the different professional leagues, having stints in the Liiga, KHL, Czechia, and SHL. 

He has struggled to recapture the high levels of production he showed earlier on in his career. His NHL rights have since been dealt to the Vegas Golden Knights but it does not seem like he will be making his NHL debut anytime soon.