image courtesy of The Telegram

Fantasy Summary

Offensive minded blueliner who can quarterback a powerplay at the pro level. Defensive game continues to be a work in progress.


Observations

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May 2022 – Duszak had a productive year for the Marlies and was one of the top-scoring blueliners in the AHL in 2021-22 but it wasn’t enough to earn a look in the NHL, which seemingly led to some contention between the club and player. Duszak reportedly asked for a trade at some point during the season and after being shuffled between forward and defense, reports surfaced that he walked out on the team in the final days of the season. He is a pending restricted free agent and though the Leafs have the ability to retain him, it seems like a fresh start would be best for both parties. Nick Richard

August 2021 – Duszak has signed a one-year, two-way deal with the Maple Leafs that carries an NHL salary of $750,000. With the depth on Toronto’s blue line, Duszak appears destined for another season with the Marlies in the AHL. Nick Richard

July 2021 – The Leafs have extended a qualifying offer to Duszak, retaining his rights as a restricted free agent. Nick Richard

May 2021 – The stat line on Duszak’s player pages don’t do his season justice. His 12 points and 38 SOG in 25 games both represented steps backward from 2019-20, however he managed to carve himself a consistent spot on the crowded blueline – that total of 25 games ranked 3rd among the rotation of defenders. His puck-moving instincts and ability to read the play in the offensive zone are above average and he is regularly creating chances out of very little. His ability to contain attackers in his own end is still the greatest hurdle he needs to clear to graduate from an AHL contract, but he has progressed in this area more than some of his peers have. Turning 24 soon, he may be short on runway compared to younger prospects with similar upside which certainly hurts his outlook. Still, if he can continue to improve his defensive reads he will have no problem finding AHL work which often leads to contracts for veterans. Hayden Soboleski

February 2021 – Duszak has started the 2020-21 Marlies campaign on the right wing rather than his usual RD. The blueline is a logjam of players worthy of development time so there is logic to this move, but the fact that he is being chosen as the “swinger” has pros and cons. This is a great indicator of his offensive instincts and ability to learn quickly, but it is also worrying that developing him as a defenseman was lower priority than getting everyone in the lineup. He was already a longshot prospect and this may not help, but let’s wait and see how he fares before assuming which direction this takes his fantasy stock. Hayden Soboleski

March 2020 – After initially looking like another ECHL/AHL swinger prospect stuck in a deep Leafs system, Duszak played his way into a full-time prominent AHL role. His 35 points in 34 ECHL contests was too good to leave there much longer, especially once Sandin and Liljegren got called up to the NHL. In their absence, Duszak became a reliable producer (18 points in 23 games), as was frequently seen on the powerplay (8 PPP). He won’t be fighting for an NHL spot just yet, but he clearly belongs in the pros and his fantasy indicators are strong (he likes the puck, and he averages 1 PIM and 2 SOG per game). Keep him on your radar for another year, because he is trending upward. Hayden Soboleski

November 2019 – Duszak didn’t spend long in the AHL, getting assigned to the ECHL Growlers after only two contests. As should be expected, he is tearing up the lower-tier league with 10 points in 10 games from the back end. He is a probably candidate to see some time with the Marlies at some point later this season, but is still a few years away from NHL fantasy relevance. Hayden Soboleski

September 2019 – After an extended look in training camp and pre-season, Duszak has been assigned to the Marlies for the 2019-20 campaign as expected. The college signing was in and out of the lineup during the Marlies’ playoff run and has shown well in snippets. Offensive fantasy potential is there, but it’s a deep system so he needs to stand out. Hayden Soboleski

March 2019 – The Maple Leafs have signed NCAA Free Agent Joe Duszak to an ELC.

Duszak has accumulated 47 points in 37 NCAA games this season – tops in the league. The knock on this is that he plays in a weak division so his quality of competition isn’t outstanding (that being said, it also means he has less to work with on his own squad). He checks the boxes of a modern d-man: he can skate well enough to join the rush, and can pass well enough to move the puck up the ice, but struggles in his own end especially when trying to physically overpower opponents going to the net. Expect at least a year on the Marlies to see how he looks against pro players. Hayden Soboleski

Attributes
Fantasy Upside 6.0
NHL Certainty 5.5
Country USA
Position D
Roster Type Minors
Shoot/Glove Right
Date of Birth July 22, 1997
Height 5‘10”
Weight 185 lbs
Drafted No

Stats

 Season Team League GP G A TP PIM      Playoffs GP G A TP PIM 
 2011-2012 Long Island Gulls 14U AAAAYHL 14U- - -- -|        
  Portledge School USHS-Prep21 1 23 -|        
 2012-2013 Suffolk PAL Juniors EmJHL34 1 1819 20|Playoffs3 0 22
  Portledge School USHS-Prep18 3 1013 -|        
 2013-2014 P.A.L. Junior Islanders 18U AAAUSPHL 18U13 0 1414 24|        
  P.A.L. Junior IslandersUSPHL Premier34 1 1617 22|Playoffs3 1 12
  Portledge School USHS-Prep4 3 58 -|