Maple Leafs sign Braeden Kressler to ELC – .

Maple Leafs sign Braeden Kressler to ELC – .

Braeden Kressler, an invitation to the Leafs development camp and the Traverse City Prospects tournament, received the proverbial open door when Alex Steeves was injured. He walked it without hesitation, impressed in a leading role and landed an entry-level contract.

When I researched who this guy who played so well to replace Steeves was, I thought he looked like he could get into the AHL. I didn’t expect him to be 18 and in the OHL.

Born in Kitchener and playing Flint for the Firebirds, he only has one year of stats because he didn’t play last year. He didn’t get drafted, probably because he only had his 16-year-old season to recommend him – oh, and that tall stuff. His first season in the OHL was not that impressive on a team with Riley McCourt, now on the Marlies. But few 16-year-olds are so impressive in the OHL.

He garnered some attention ahead of the draft, and no one would have been surprised if he’d been caught with an end-of-round pick, but he was ignored.

His performance at Traverse City made him worth hanging on now, instead of waiting for the next draft. This is the only time the Leafs would be allowed to sign him – before the start of the regular season. At 18, he will return to the OHL for two more years, and his contract will slip. In January 2023, he will be 20 years old and will be eligible that fall for the AHL.

Kressler is listed at 5’9 ”and 165 pounds, and he plays regularly at center. He is described as being tenacious on the puck and a good skater.

Oh, and if you find it odd that his agent is All Russians’ famous agent, Gold Star is located in Michigan, and former Star-drafted teammate Yevgeni Oksentyuk is also a client of Milstein.

Welcome to the team, Braeden.


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