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Toronto Maple Leafs


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Toronto Maple Leafs

Post by jedi17 on Fri 19 May 2017, 7:50 pm

Marlies set for youth movement, makeover – Pt II (Forwards)
May 19, 2017, 5:01 PM ET [7 Comments]
Mike Augello
Toronto Maple Leafs Blogger • RSS • Archive • CONTACT
For the latest Leafs updates or on Twitter

The Toronto Marlies held their locker cleanout and season-ending interviews on Friday after being eliminated by the Syracuse Crunch earlier this week.

Young players who were given significant responsibilities made progress early in their professional career, but there is work to be done before they achieve their ultimate goal of making the NHL.

It is expected that the Marlies will look quite different at forward next October, as veteran forwards added down the stretch to help the Marlies make the playoffs will likely not return and young forwards from the CHL, NCAA and Europe selected in the last three drafts will begin to populate the roster.

“It’s really hard right now to project what the roster is going to look like,” Leafs Asst GM Kyle Dubas said on Friday. “The desire is that we’re developing everybody to the best of their ability, but also that were teaching the players that hockey goes till May and June.”

Kasperi Kapanen, KHL free agent Miro Aaltonen, Kerby Rychel, Brendan Leipsic and Andreas Johnsson could challenge for NHL roster spots if more opportunities open up depending on what GM Lou Lamoriello does prior to the expansion draft and over the summer.

Aaltonen, Rychel, Leipsic and Johnsson are left wingers, which could come into consideration if Toronto trades James van Riemsdyk for defensive help.

“I think there are a lot of really good individuals in there, and young guys who are getting better each and every day and some future stars for the Leafs” winger Kasperi Kapanen said. “I don’t know about (making the NHL) next year, the only thing I can control is how I prepare for next year and how I work out in the summer.”

Kapanen was called up late in the season and played in all six playoff games against Washington, which is an indication that the 20-year-old could make the Leafs opening night roster with a good training camp.

Rychel (acquired for Scott Harrington last June) led Toronto with 52 points and has the size and toughness to play in the NHL, but some are skeptical that his skating is up to the current pace of the league.

Leipsic has the skill and speed to play a top-nine role for the Leafs(averaging over a point-per-game), but durability is the question for the 5’9” 180 lb winger, who missed seven weeks with a concussion.

After three successful seasons in the SHL, Johnsson made a successful conversion to the North American game, leading the Marlies with 20 goals during the regular season and six in the playoffs.

Free agent Trevor Moore and first year pro Dmytro Timashov both had successful rookie seasons but need time to gain experience, while Tobias Lindberg did not make any progress or have a significant impact.

There will likely be a mass exodus of veteran players over the summer. Sergey Kalinin will reportedly be heading to the KHL, Milan Michalek and Brooks Laich will be looking to hook on with an NHL team after being hidden on Robidas Island, Seth Griffith may receive a qualifying offer, but will have to clear waivers to play in the AHL.

Where the Marlies are most vulnerable is at center. The leg injury to Frederik Gauthier will likely keep the 2013 first round pick out until November and after trading Byron Froese in the Brian Boyle deal, Sheldon Keefe really had no one up the middle to rely on, which necessitated getting veteran Cal O’Reilly on loan from Buffalo.

21-year-old Adam Brooks and NCAA product Dominic Toninato (still unsigned) are the only centers who could be internal options.

2016 second rounder Carl Grundstrom made a significant impression during the Calder Cup Playoffs, scoring three times and reinforcing his reputation as the next Leo Komarov, but it is unknown whether the 19-year-old will play in Sweden for another season or stay in North America.

2015 draft picks Jeremy Bracco, Martin Dzierkals (unsigned), JJ Piccinich(signed to a minor league deal) and Nikita Korostelev (unsigned) are all 20 years old or older and eligible to play in the AHL and could be part of the Marlies or Orlando Solar Bears, but GM Kyle Dubas will have to find veteran reinforcements to provide support fo

    Current date/time is Sat 26 May 2018, 1:12 am