Justin Holl will be back in a Toronto Marlies sweater next season after agreeing to terms on a one-year, two-way contract on Tuesday evening.
Originally drafted 54th overall by the Chicago Blackhawks in 2010, the Marlies signed Holl to an AHL contract in 2015 after a successful first professional season with Indy Fuel of the ECHL.
A mainstay on the Marlies blue line since 2015-16, the 25-year-old defenceman earned himself an NHL deal last summer but he was steady more than spectacular in 2016-17. Often paired off with Andrew Nielsen — who, despite offensive prowess, faced a steep learning curve inside his own zone — Holl was required to put the reins on his offensive instincts in order to account for his rookie partner.
19 points (8g,11a) through 72 games is a step back from his previous year’s point production, but Holl arrived at the party offensively during the 2017 Calder Cup Playoffs with a triple overtime winner and seven points in 11 games (he was the Marlies’ third leading scorer). More active as a puck carrier on the rush in the postseason, the 6’3, 195-pound right-shot proved himself a difference maker in the first-round series against Albany.
The Marlies are thin on the right side of their defence even with the recent addition of Vincent LoVerde, which made qualifying and re-signing Holl a no-brainer decision for the Leafs. It’s unlikely that Holl receives any playing time in the NHL barring suspensions or injuries, but he’s been rewarded with a pay increase that’ll see him earn $175,000 in the minors.