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Newfoundland Growlers already have plenty of players, we just don’t know their names

So far, Marcus Power is the only player signed by the ECHL's Newfoundland Growlers, but that doesn't mean the team's roster isn't being filled.
So far, Marcus Power is the only player signed by the ECHL's Newfoundland Growlers, but that doesn't mean the team's roster isn't being filled. - SaltWire Network

Trickle-down effect (and bit of math) means you can already count on the Maple Leafs’ organization sending a lot of players

The e-mail was about hockey, but it had the tone of a homeowner just a little bit jealous about all the construction work the neighbours seemed to be doing.

How is it, the e-mailer asked (we’re paraphrasing a bit here), that the Maine Mariners already have signed a dozen players for their initial ECHL season while the Newfoundland Growlers, who will be joining the league at the same time, have inked just one?
In fact, the Mariners have actually signed 13 players to ECHL contracts, but another truth is the Growlers are already guaranteed just about the same number.

The difference is that we don’t know exactly who they will be.
Get out your calculator or abacus or just a pencil and some paper. The explanation requires a little bit of arithmetic, all while keeping in mind what should be the significant impact of the Growlers’ affiliation with the Toronto Maple Leafs.
According to CapFreindly, the Maple Leafs have 19 players considered to be NHLers who are signed to contracts for the 2018-19 season. This does not include Nathan Horton, officially on the roster, but who, in reality, is done as a player because of injury. It also does not include young star William Nylander, who is a restricted free agent.
Assuming Nylander’s re-signing, the Leafs will be three bodies short of a full NHL roster complement of 23. But there are plenty of in-house options to fill the vacancies because Toronto has no fewer than 27 other players who have NHL contracts for next seasons. (By the way, two-thirds of those players are goalies or have entry-level deals, making them eligible to be assigned to the Growlers.)
You can discount teen defenceman and 2018 first-rounder Rasmus Sandin. And let’s be pessimistic and predict three or four injuries out of training camp and that maybe the Leafs do as they did last year and assign depth netminder Kasimir Kaskisuo to another AHL team in order to give him sufficient playing time.
That would reduce our numbers by five or six, not including the three needed to address the NHL Leafs’ roster shortfall. That leaves 18 or 19 players signed to NHL deals and who would fill the majority of roster spots on the American Hockey League’s Toronto Marlies.
But we haven’t counted the 17 players Toronto has already inked to American Hockey League contracts for next season, including St. John’s native Zach O’Brien. That gives us 35 or 36 signed players that we might deem as minor-leaguers (without allowing for any other players that the Maple Leafs, Marlies or Growlers will sign between now and the start of the season).
Deduct 23 for the Marlies’ roster and you have, at a minimum, a remainder of 12 or 13 you’d have to think can be pencilled in for the Growlers, who will have a 20-man active roster.
And don’t forget to include St. John’s native Marcus Power, the forward who recently became the first official Growler as the team’s lone ECHL signing to date
So Newfoundland, like its new-entry cousin in Maine, can already count on a dozen or so players. But while the Mariners can now put up nameplates in the locker room with some assurance, the Growlers’ crowd is mostly anonymous., at least as of today.
We know they’re coming down the stream, but we can’t yet see around the bend to identify them.

brendan.mccarthy@thetelegram.com
Twitter: @telybrendan

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