So with Rielly, Leivo, MacWilliam, McKegg, and Sparks all sitting this game out and Finn leaving mysteriously after a period of play, you might have guessed that this would be a tough one for the Leafs rookies but you’d be wrong.
Stuart Percy was the best player on the ice, and Brad Ross was the best forward for either team pacing the Leafs to a 4-3 shootout win over a Penguins team with no competent forwards.
Zachary Yuen was probably the game’s biggest surprise. He had a solid game in every respect and almost certainly opened some eyes with his performance tonight; I wouldn’t be surprised to see him dressed again tomorrow for the team to get a better look.
The game itself was a back and forth affair, starting with a bang in the first (Pitt goal, 2 fights, Tor goal) and ending with a fizzle (shootouts are kinda lame).
Toronto’s first goal was scored by Matt Rupert on the PP. With Biggs providing the traffic in front, a rebound from a point shot found its way to Rupert’s stick and he punched it in.
The second goal was scored by Fabrice Herzog after some nice retrieval work by Ross and Verhaeghe and a pretty sweet behind the back pass from Ross. Herzog was given too much time in front and he took advantage of it.
Toronto’s third goal was a nice little passing play between Andrew Crescenzi and Jamie Devane in transition with Crescenzi potting the goal on a first touch shot, over the goalie’s shoulder.
Shootout goals were scored by Ross and Percy — the Leafs’ two best players tonight.
With that, the Leafs move to 2-0 on the tournament and will play against Ottawa’s rookies tomorrow night. Hopefully we’ll get to see some more of Leivo and Rielly, and with any luck whatever took Finn out of tonight’s game isn’t anything serious.
See you all tomorrow.
Here’s the shootout. Check out the liveblog for more game details and goal videos.
Thanks Zombie ,I knew it was more then a year ,and I agree re he was effective ,hoping ross is as good or better ,sorry about late post
I tend not to get too excited about what happens in prospect exhibition games. I remember four rookie tournaments ago when everyone was drooling over Sondre Olden. I think MLHS had a "Breakout Rookie" bit on him because of the skill set he showed in this tournament.
jonasTSN1050: Leaf prospect Frederik Gauthier: "When I was young I wasn't the one who was scoring so I [tried] to be good in my zone".
jonasTSN1050: Gauthier has targeted limited offensive game for improvement this year. Certainly has know-how, intuitiveness in the defensive zone.
it is remarkable to think of how many young d-men we have that are getting damn near being nhl ready:
expect our blueline to be rock solid for YEARS to come and provide us with an area we can release cap pressure as we need to sign other guys. i mean, we have rielly, who could be a perennial all star if things go well with his development, and then percy who looks like he'll be a GREAT 2nd pairing guy if things continue to go well with his development, and granberg who could prove to be a steal of a draft pick.
the most encouraging thing is that the leafs are FINALLY developing players over time. and it's gonna continue to pay off in the coming years.
Matt Finn (shoulder) is out of Leaf lineup tonight vs. Ott as a precaution. Josh Leivo (chest) is back in. D Morgan Rielly is questionable.
brad ross will hopefully prove to be EXACTLY what we're gonna miss with the loss of komorov. probably not this year, but hopefully starting from next year he'll be that 3rd/4th line pest that the rest of the league loves to hate and we love to love.
“That’s the key part in all this,” said Craig Button, a former general manager now working as a TSN analyst. “Is Matt Frattin a No. 1 prospect? No, but he’s a guy that the L.A. Kings obviously wanted and who led to a deal for Jonatahan Bernier. If people don’t realize Toronto has a deep prospect pool, then you’re not paying attention.”
@Waiting4LSC I thought he was playing angles really well, a couple of big shots clanking the crossbar, as he wasn't showing much net, but I think it was the first goal big slapper top center in and out fast...maybe the glove up high is suspect....but it was a hell of shot...hard to say in one game...
@Burtonboy BB - where did he come from?
@Xxxxxnew I remember so clearly how much he stood out at the tournament
I think it's more of the attitude most of our prospects are bringing to the game that excites me. Guys are going to the net, getting into other players faces, sticking up for each other and just simply doing what it takes to win.
No question, this Leaf organization started something special when they brought in Brian Burke.
LOL - I used that example of my bad judgment this morning. I saw him as our next Mats.
completely agree......and we WILL get rock solid goaltending with the pair of guys we got. both are solid.
Not to mention how young the current blue line is... Gardiner, Franson, Gunnar, Phaneuf to name a few. If I'm not mistaken, isn't Liles the only guy on the back end who is over 30?
We have so much potential depth for the back end its crazy. I say potential because odds are a couple don't make it, however most of them have a very good chance.
This Leaf team is not a team I think anybody is going to want to face in a couple years. Imagine having Biggs, Ross, Bolland, Clarkson, Kadri, Devane, McLaren perhaps one or both of the Ruperts in your face all game long. Fuck!
Declan: really appreciate you resolving the link problem. I am mostly on the iPad and the above link worked. Finally am connected.
@DeclanK That trade was the first of what might well be many in the next couple of yr. For the first time in many yrs we have assets to trade. The idea of drafting BPA makes solid sense from that perspective as they have the best chance of playing in the NHL. Unlike taking high risk picks that are for the most part like a friggin lottery
LML: Thank you sir. Some fanfare when we signed him. Other than that just a Goalie on paper. I really hope these guys stock the cupboard for us at G. I am a Reims fan, was a Monster fan, and now want Sparks to be the next in line. Kiss of death? Who knows, but having strong net-minding is imperative for the Leafs, for all the reasons we know so well!
@Burtonboy is that the big guy from the Quebec league?
Totally agree. I really like this group. I guess my point is you can't really tell from this tournament, unless its an elite pick like Rielly, whether their determination level and skill will translate to the NHL, AHL or whatever. Olden and the hype he got four tournaments ago is my extreme example.
Thing was he did look like a young kid with some offensive flair. I was hoping he'd turn into something but he basically didnt get any better, even back in Europe. But I've just learned over many seasons that while you can get a bit of a glimpse of what these players can do, the tournament, with kids playing against kids, just isn't a predictable preview of how they translate to the NHL. I've seen posters talking about some of these guys making the Leafs this year based on a move they made going around some kid from the Chicago or Pitt prospect team who could be a career ECHL player!
we need kadri and franson though. if we want to make the playoffs we need both those guys.
Don't forget Broll.
@Knights2Leafs @.JVR. its all good, because the Leafs are gonna play with a few guys coming and going, on and off the LTR....Frazer could go down for a stretch, the way he plays....Holzer has a golden opportunity here, up once, knocked back down, up a second time...you never know....if we get 2 or 3 support players like him to step into the smashmouth Leaf program, and hold fast...we will be smiling...:)
The one advantage he has is he shoots right. The only way I see him on the bottom pairing is if Fraser isn't playing because I don't think you want them being bottom 2.
Paired with Ranger could be workable but then we're losing Fraser's toughness. I think I'd rather see Fraser with a guy like Ranger playing on the his off side.
That's because he was in over his head playing with Phaneuf on the top pairing. I think he'll be just fine in the NHL as a future bottom pairing defenceman.
At the very least, he'll be a solid depth option as a 7th defenceman.
Still young at 25, Fraser didn't put it all together until last year as a 26 year old. Other than elite players a lot of defencemen take longer to incubate. But you're right, he could go either way.
From Brian Costello
“Biggs is a decent prospect, but should he have been a first-rounder? Probably not. In the case of Biggs and Percy, I don’t think they would have gone in the first round if you could do the draft again.”
If I recall correctly he was in the top 30 for the draft rankings and didn't Detroit make a move up to get him?
But Mr. Costello seems to know what he's talking about when it comes to hindsight. Maybe that's why Mr. Costello is simply a senior managing editor and doesn't have a real job.