Photo courtesy of Christian at TSGphoto.com
The Toronto Marlies came into this January 30 – February 1 stretch with a three-game road trip on tap in the southern states. The Marlies squared off with the Oklahoma City Barons (Edmonton), San Antonio Rampage (Florida), and the Texas Stars (Dallas).
This was a week to forget for the Marlies, who won one of three games and suffered a 6-0 blowout in one of the losses.
Welcome to your slightly tardy prospect update. This will probably be my last during the holiday season as my non-NHL focus will shift to the World Juniors — we’ll have you covered on that front, too.
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:
As trade rumour season heats up and the Toronto Maple Leafs slip in the standings from 5th to 8th in the past week, Leafs Nation will almost certainly be whipped up into a frenzy over every name mentioned. While we aren’t a rumour website, we are within 19 days of the deadline and there has been some legitimate talk from *actual* members of the media and evidence of three teams in different conferences scouting each other heavily that don’t normally do so.
A lot can change depending on the Leafs position in the standings in the eight games before the deadline, but the Leafs figure to be, theoretically, both buyers and sellers. Granted, in a lockout-shortened season it’s hard to ascertain what the nature of the landscape will be – or if there will be much movement at all – at a deadline where so many teams will still believe in the legitimacy of their playoff hopes. A buyers-heavy market could lend itself to moving out a few free agents-to-be and not so much to adding pieces at a reasonable price.
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.
Welcome to the Playoffs, Awards, and Injury Ward edition of the Leafs Prospect Update!
Starting with the bad news, Erie Captain and surprise statistical standout Connor Brown suffered a head injury (read: concussion) against London on the 18th and missed this weekend’s games. Erie is well out of the playoff mix and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Brown sit out the rest of the year to recover — it’s probably what’s best for him in the long run.
After being away from his teammates for both the World Junior Championships and the Leafs’ pre-season camp, Morgan Rielly returned to Moose Jaw and the Warriors returned to the win column for the first time since his departure.
Welcome back, Josh Leivo.
After missing time with a concussion, Leivo returned to the Sudbury Wolves lineup last week and he did so with a vengeance. The Wolves had 3 games in 3 nights this weekend and Leivo put up 2 goals and 5 assists. Leivo now has 34 points in 29 games on a pretty weak Sudbury team.
Brought to you by Blue Chip Prospects
With Sportsnet televising Tyler Biggs’ Friday night showdown with Matt Finn (also: Garret Sparks will likely man the pipes for Guelph), I thought it would be a great opportunity for me to share some things that I’ve noticed about the two Leafs prospects in the early stages of the year. Â Think of these points as some things to watch for or consider while taking in the game — I’d love to hear where you agree, disagree, or if you’d just like to talk things out.