Looking for a change, the Toronto Maple Leafs have recalled Pontus Holmberg from the AHL. To make room, Wayne Simmonds has been sent back to the Toronto Marlies. Simmonds cleared waivers at the beginning of the season, so can be assigned freely for the time being.
Holmberg, 23, has turned into an interesting prospect for the Maple Leafs. A sixth-round pick in 2018, he developed into a star player in Sweden, winning a league championship and being named playoff MVP. He followed up the impressive postseason performance with a 41-point season, and even got a taste of North American hockey with a six-game look with the Toronto Marlies last spring.
Still, despite all that success, it’s hard to imagine Holmberg really being the key to unlocking the Maple Leafs this season. At best he is probably an upgrade in the bottom six, capable of playing center or wing. But with just two assists in seven games with the Marlies this season, the offensive upside of a player like Holmberg is limited.
With Toronto struggling to score at even-strength (and in general), they’ll need their stars to play better – not just the bottom-six.