TORONTO - The Toronto Maple Leafs have signed 18-year-old centre Carter Verhaeghe to a three-year entry-level contract.
Verhaeghe, taken in the third round of last year's draft (82nd overall), will join the Marlies of the AHL on an amateur tryout agreement for the remainder of the season. His Leafs contract begins next year.
The Waterdown, Ont., native led the OHL's Niagara IceDogs with 82 points (28 goals and 54 assists) in 65 games this season. In three OHL seasons he put up 50 goals and 92 assists.
Director of player development Jim Hughes at last summer's prospects camp pegged Verhaeghe as a long-term project — someone who could be almost two years from reaching his full potential.
"Where Verhaeghe is today and where he's going to be 18 months from now, we'll see a major transition in his game," Hughes said in July. "You can see the skill-sets and the poise with the puck and playmaking ability. He can buy time and space."