The Maple Leafs have added some right-handed blue line depth via the trade route, acquiring 24-year-old right-shot defenseman Brennan Mennell from the Minnesota Wild in exchange for a conditional draft pick.
Menell joins the Leafs‘ reserve list for now as he is in need of a contract. If he agrees to terms, a seventh-round draft choice in 2022 will transfer to Minnesota, leaving the Leafs with just two draft picks next year (their first and second-round selections).
As an undrafted prospect out of the WHL, the Wild added Mennell to their system in 2017 on a three-year entry-level deal coming off of 88 points in his final 90 WHL games.
The 5’10, 180-pound Manitoba native was highly productive over three seasons for the AHL’s Iowa Wild, including a 47-point season in 57 games in 2019-20 (second in the AHL among defensemen), before leaving to the KHL for 2020-21. Menell led the KHL in scoring in points per game among defensemen (minimum of 20 games played) with 38 points in 47 games for Minsk Dynamo before adding seven points in five playoff games.
A slick puck mover who can quarterback a power play, Menell wasn’t able to convince the Wild he was ready and rounded enough defensively to give him an extended look, although there also wasn’t much of a need for this type of player in their defense lineup with Jared Spurgeon and Matthew Dumba in the top four and Greg Pateryn providing more bottom-pairing utility. Mennell appeared in five games for the Wild in 2019-20, putting four shots on goal in 13:59/game of time-on-ice.
If signed, Mennell will come in and compete against the likes of Timothy Liljegren and Rasmus Sandin for NHL playing time, and we’ll see what else the Leafs do today in terms of adding a veteran depth option that can play the right side. Kyle Dubas also mentioned last week that the Leafs were losing notable defensive depth at the AHL level this offseason and called it out as a priority to address. Menell should provide a quality depth piece in that regard, at a minimum.
In a similar vein, the Leafs have signed 25-year-old forward Mike Amadio, who is a Sault Ste. Marie born (shocker!) right-handed center with over 170 games of NHL experience primarily with the LA Kings.
— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) July 28, 2021
Amadio was a full-time NHL regular in 2019-20, appearing in 68 games for the Kings and recording six goals, 16 points, and a 48% faceoff percentage in 13:01/game of time on ice. Dealt to the Senators in a trade for Christian Wolanin, the 6’1, 205-pound Amadio tallied just three points in 25 NHL games split between LA and Ottawa this past season.
Amadio will compete for the 4C spot with Adam Brooks and likely an additional more established depth option to be added via FA, with the Leafs linked to Derek Ryan among other possibilities. Most likely, he’ll give the Marlies a top-six center and the Leafs a call-up option with notable NHL experience.