Just after the Toronto Maple Leafs were eliminated from the Stanley Cup playoffs by the Tampa Bay Lightning, the team’s general manager Kyle Dubas named a number of players who might make the jump from the Toronto Marlies to the Maple Leafs’ roster. Young Swedish forward Pontus Holmberg was among them.
Dubas noted that Holmberg was a player who had experienced a good start with the Marlies. Dubas shared that Holmberg, who was a sixth-round pick in 2018, had “played exceptionally well for them and we feel he’ll challenge for the (Leafs) roster here next year. He played on the Olympic team, he’s won a championship in Sweden.”
What’s Interesting About Holmberg
Holmberg is a young center with a tremendous upside. As Maple Leafs’ fans look far into the future, they might wonder if current second-line center John Tavares might make a possible move from the center of the team’s second-line to a different role as a winger on that same second-line. If he did, and that might not happen for a while, Holmberg might be one of the players in the organization who might be able to adequately replace him. Sooner or later, moving Tavares to the wing seems like a natural decision.
Currently, such a move would put the organization short on centers. However, given a year or two of development, might Holmberg be in that position? In the Swedish Hockey League, Holmberg scored 41 points in 46 games with Växjö Lakers HC. He also was able to compete at high levels internationally. Playing for Team Sweden in the 2022 Winter Olympic Games in Beijing this past winter, Holmberg registered two assists.
So Far, Holmberg Has Looked Good in Sweden
Last season playing at home in Sweden, Holmberg won two awards. First, after his Växjö Lakers HC won the SHL Championship, he was named the SHL Playoff MVP and was awarded the Stefan Liv Memorial Trophy. Second, he also won the SHL award for the Swedish Forward of the Year. That’s high marks for the youngster, given that the SHL is a quality league.
Holmberg, who was chosen by the Maple Leafs during the sixth round (156th overall) of the 2018 NHL Entry Draft, is on Dubas’ radar. Last season, when the SHL season was complete, he quickly moved to the Marlies. There he centred the Marlies’ top line. It was a successful move.
What Kind of Impression Will Holmberg Make During the Maple Leafs’ Training Camp?
It was a small sample size, but Holmberg thrived. That explosive AHL start has earned him a look during training camp. How he will do, who knows? But he might be an interesting young player for Maple Leafs’ fans to watch.