The Week 24 Torontosaurus Rex is ….
The award this week goes a player stepping up in the wake of the roster turnover and having started the season on opening night with the Leafs while splitting time this season with the Marlies.
The 24-year old winger scored three goals in Week 24, including his second two-goal effort of his young career. Rookie Viktor Stalberg (3-3-0-3) has seen his ice time increase a full two minutes in the four games since a 3-2 win over the Rangers, with a return to the power play.
Stalberg, similar to Tyler Bozak, had to learn that the grind of the NHL season as well as becoming pros was just as important as developing skills in the NHL. Stalberg played big minutes with the Marlies that he would not have received in the NHL, scoring 12 goals in 39 games (39-12-21-33) and getting used to the professional game at a high paced level.
And he struggled through periods of the schedule without making enough of an impact in games. This commitment to being a factor every game was a step in the Swede’s development and witnessed with a more physical game lately and better positioning relative to opening night.
With Stalberg, the physical, brash style that he needs to play to be successful takes time to develop against bigger and stronger opponents. Signs are positive in development and heâ€™s coming along into the mold of a good power forward, but itâ€™s a work in progress and a timely one.
For now, heâ€™s shown enough to enter the final week of the season as the Torontosaurus Rex
An honorable mention should go out to John Mitchell (3-0-2-2) who lost his special teams time and playing a decent 13-14 minutes in the last two games, after dropping in ice time that bounced between 17-19 minutes. He was noticeable on the ice throughout the last two games, despite the decrease in ice time.
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