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The Marlies came into the past weekend facing a back to back set against the St. John’s Ice Caps on the road. Since our last Marlies report (Dec. 7), the Marlies have won seven of 11 games, including the AHL Outdoor Classic and a previous home win against the Ice Caps (3-2W) on December 15. The Marlies came into the weekend looking to take as many points as possible; this was the beginning of a 7-game road trip, and in a tough North Division starting a long road trip with some points in the bank is crucial for morale.
The Leafs dropped a 4-3 shootout decision to the Philadelphia Flyers in a sloppy second game of preseason. Remarkably, Phil Kessel took 6 minutes worth of aggressive stick infractions.
The Leafs wrapped up what was a pretty good weekend by imploding in the third period and losing handily, but that doesn’t take away from some of the positives that were shown overall.
There were some youngsters who had good weekends, others who had very good weekends, and a few who struggled. In other news, the Leafs also have a new player coming to training camp in Mason Raymond.
You know hockey is back when there are actual relevant games and players to talk about all of a sudden. Here are some scattered thoughts on the weekend that was:
Photo: National Post
Earlier this week, the Leafs director of amateur scouting, Dave Morrison, took some time out of his schedule to talk to me.
We ended up speaking for nearly an hour and we went over so much that I decided to break it down by section and quote him where appropriate. So with that, please do not misconstrue anything said below and contact me for clarification if you are unsure about anything.
With all that out of the way, here are the highlights from our chat:
PHOTO: MIKE CASSESE/REUTERS
It’s like déjà vu all over again.
And no, I’m not talking about “The Slide.”
Jeff Gross/Getty Images
With just over three weeks to go until the trade deadline, I feel as if I can get away with a rosterbation post without too much scrutiny. I’ll do my best to not go full HFBoards with my ideas, but certainly have a few players in mind that I’d like for the Leafs to target, and a few that I’d like Nonis to jettison. While I’m sure this won’t be the most intelligent post you’ll read this morning, hopefully it will at least spark some Monday morning conversation.
Photo: The Canadian Press
Being a Leafs fan in Northern Alberta offers few benefits. I get to see the team play live only once a year. I have to subscribe to Center Ice or track down feeds online if I want to catch Sportsnet or Leafs TV games, and I never know what is happening with the Marlies. To make matters worse, the Leafs scouting staff rarely selects players from the WHL so I get few chances to watch prospects, and rarely have hope that a Western player will be selected in the draft by the Leafs (All QMJHL fans are playing a tiny violin for me right now.)
It has been a different story the past couple of weeks, as the Portland Winterhawks have been playing my local Edmonton Oil Kings in the Western Hockey League Finals, and that has meant a lot of Brad Ross viewings.
Morrisonn welcomes Ross to the Maple Leafs' organization
Not a bad start for the Maple Leafs’ 2010 draft class… It was announced on Monday that forward prospects Greg McKegg, the Leafs’ 3rd round pick 62nd overall, and Brad Ross, the Leafs’ 2nd round pick 43rd overall, were named OHL and WHL Players of the Week respectively for the week of September 27th to October 3rd. Not to be forgotten is forward Josh Nicholls, the team’s 7th round pick 182nd overall who is off to a career best start for the Saskatoon Blades.
As we await the season opener for the big club, let’s see how some of the kids are doing:
- Greg McKegg is off to an excellent start with 8 points in 5 games played for the Erie Otters. Greg recorded two shorthanded goals and added another assist for good measure in a 5-2 win last night over the London Knights. McKegg is currently tied for 5th overall in OHL scoring.
- Brad Ross has also started well out of the gate with 4 goals and 5 points in 3 games played for the Portland Winterhawks. Without Nino Niederreiter and possibly Ryan Johansen this season, Ross will be counted upon to shoulder a much bigger offensive load. He’s responded well so far, taking a hold of the team’s scoring lead in addition to posting a team best +5 rating.
- Jesse Blacker is back with the Owen Sound Attack and has 2 points through 2 games played. It’s clear that Blacker has plenty of offensive potential, but he will have to work at rounding out the other areas of his game and improve upon last year’s team worst -22 rating.
- The Toronto Marlies have started their hockey season on a positive note with back to back preseason wins over the Rochester Americans. Forward Marcel Mueller has been an absolute force so far, recording 4 goals and 1 assist for 5 points through the pair of games. The much maligned Mikhail Stefanovich will look for a big rebound year and is off to a good start with a pair of goals in the preseason opener. James Reimer was the winning goaltender on Friday while Ben Scrivens stopped 21 of 24 shots for the victory on Saturday. Toronto will open the season Saturday, October 9th against the Rochester Americans at the Ricoh Coliseum.
Bring On Training Camp!
The Toronto Maple Leafs held their on-ice portion of training camp today. Players have been split into three squads to accommodate the 63 players invited to camp.
Among the contingent of fans outside the ice surface at the MasterCard Centre for Hockey Excellence was a throng of media and of course, Leafs staff.
The Toronto Maple Leafs will host their rookie tournament this year in London, Ontario from September 11th to the 14th, and Maple Leafs Hot Stove will have unprecedented, wall-to-wall coverage of the event.
Join us here for live game blogs, game previews, game reviews, exclusive interviews, and more! Â Today, we will look at the top ten Leafs players who will be worth paying extra close attention to at this weekend’s event.
The Toronto Maple Leafs 2010 rookie tournament is coming to London, Ontario and Maple Leafs Hot Stove is pleased to announce that we will have exclusive, unprecedented coverage of the event!
Just confirmed earlier tonight, I will be in attendance at the John Labatt Centre for the duration of the tournament, providing up to date news from the rookie tournament for the Toronto Maple Leafs, as well as the other competing teams (Pittsburgh, Ottawa, and Chicago.)
As part of our exclusive coverage, I am pleased to announce that we will have game day previews, game day recaps, live blogs, live tweeting, as well as exclusive interviews with some of the Leafs biggest rookies and prospects.
Great to see such an active group of readers. Here are a couple of FanPosts for your Friday afternoon reading enjoyment with today’s theme being youth, youth and more youth. Paul LeMay (B. Leaf) takes an in-depth look at the team’s organizational prospect depth while Chuck Johnson compares Nazem Kadri’s chances of making the NHL as a 2nd year player with those of previous high draft picks.
For those of you who missed it, the Leafs were very active on Day 2 of the draft, swung a couple trades, and ended up with the following players:
2nd round – 43rd overall – LW Brad Ross (Portland)
3rd round – 62nd overall – C Gregg McKegg (Erie)
3rd round – 79th overall – RW Sondre Olden (Modo Jr.)
4th round – 116th overall – D Petter Granberg (Skelleftea)
5th round – 144th overall – RW Sam Carrick (Brampton)
5th round – 146th overall – LW Daniel Brodin (Djugarden)
7th round – 182nd overall – C Josh Nicholls (Saskatoon)
*The Leafs traded forward prospect Jimmy Hayes to land the 43rd overall pick and traded a 2012 3rd round pick to land the 79th overall pick.
**The Leafs also acquired grinder Mike Brown from the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for a 2010 5th round pick, as well as Edmonton’s 5th round pick in 2011 in exchange for a 2010 7th round pick
Rough Friday night for Leaf fans, but that’s in the past now. Rounds 2-7 of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft kicks off today at 1pm ET on NHL Network. The Maple Leafs are slated pick once in the 3rd round (62nd), once in the 4th round (112th), twice in the 5th round (122nd and 144th) and twice in the 7th round (182nd and 202nd).
Rumors are circulating that the Leafs will attempt to trade into the 2nd round if the price is reasonable.
This live blog will be updated with thoughts and pick analysis throughout the afternoon.