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Inscrit le: 17 Oct 2016
|Posté le: 17/10/2016 08:50:00 Sujet du message: As the fourth line centre on the Marlies
|The Marlies are a young and exciting team with a lot of new faces. They are the younger, greener version of the Leafs, and they might just be as much fun to watch this year.
It might seem at first glance that this is a whole new Marlies team this year. See the end of the post for the full roster. However, there are a lot of players who spent most of the season on the Marlies last year plus a few who arrived at the trade deadline or as their junior seasons ended. Not everyone is a rookie.
The middle of the forward lineup is the backbone of the team, and that is where big changes have occurred.
Colin Smith A
Acquired from the San Antonio Rampage at the deadline last year and then re signed to an AHL deal, Smith is the obvious number one centre on the team. That does not mean he is in the same league as last year s one and two, Marc Arcobello and William Nylander, however.
They put up 1.20 and 1.18 points per game respectively, while Smith had .73 on the year .96 in 23 games with the Marlies . He is not in their league. But at 23, he still has room to grow.
So far this year, Smith has impressed at the Leafs rookie camp where he was a class above the rest. He looks ready to take on the job of one of the main drivers of play on the team.
The perennial underperforming Leafs draft pick turned heads in training camp this year, and he is faster and better than he was last year.
As the fourth line centre on the Marlies, he was very good, but it is time for him to grow off that line where he played a comfortable role with comfortable linemate Rich Clune.
Gauthier should move up the depth chart at least to the third spot, but the Marlies are oversupplied with classic checking line centres and undersupplied with the scoring type. Where he ends up may have more to do with factors other than his own play.
At .32 points per game last year, he was outperformed by most of the defenders on the team, and that is not good enough. He has to produce more offence to get more time on the ice.
Byron Froese A
After a year spent doggedly doing the worst jobs on an NHL team—taking heavy minutes in blowouts and going up against all the grittiest fourth lines in the league—Froese is back at a level where he has succeeded in the past.
Two years ago on the Marlies, he had 42 points in 46 games, so he can score on AHL goaltenders. In the NHL last year, he had one of the top shot rates on the team, climbing up into the second tier behind James van Riemsdyk and Nazem Kadri. If he shoots at that rate in the AHL, we may be very surprised with his point totals.
Marc André Cliche
Cliche is not well known by Marlies fans, having spent a lot of time on other teams in other divisions, mostly in the west, but Cliche is an interesting person. It would be wrong to assume he is a good in the room bench warmer any more than Rich Clune is.
Cliche is not a capable NHL player. He spent nearly a full season on the Colorado Avalanche playing well over his head and resorting to an excessive emphasis on defence and winning faceoffs to make up for his lack of NHL level footspeed or scoring ability.
In the AHL, however, he is a tough forechecker, a good defensive forward, and he plays a much more active offensive game. He had more points than Gauthier while playing on two very poor teams last year.
On the Marlies, he should have been considered a lock for the penalty kill and the checking line, whichever line that ends up being, but now there is a new player in the mix.
Waived and sent to the Marlies to make the Leafs roster fit the 23 man limit and under the cap, Brooks Laich is an unknown quantity.
Will he even play? That is not clear. And if he does, how would he do in an environment both slower and more chaotic than NHL hockey?
Ben Smith might be the template to look at. He played excellent hockey on the Marlies last spring and could have challenged Arcobello for his roster spot given enough time, but at the NHL level, he is struggling to keep a fourth line spot again this year just like Laich is.
If Laich plays and he puts up numbers like Ben Smith did, the Marlies may suddenly have a real one two punch at centre. Without him Nathan MacKinnon Jersey, they will be relying on calling up someone from Orlando or using a player who is usually a winger as a centre, just to fill in when there is an injury.
There are a lot of them. The Marlies have 17 forwards on the roster with only five centres, so the eight winger spots will get shared around, and we should expect to see the same kind of rotating rosters we did last year.
At the top of the list of wingers are a group of experienced players who all have years of pro hockey behind them while still managing to be 22 and under. How they sort out onto the various lines is as much about playing style and chemistry with the centres and each other as it is a ranking of status.
Expect to see one grittier than the other, and one who scores more than the other on each line.
The second youngest forward on the team is still a seasoned pro. This year is Kapanen s chance to shine, and he should be looking to take the top line winger job.
He is the only right shooting winger on the team, excepting Daniel Maggio, and you should expect to see him paired with a grittier left wing who can still keep up with his creative style of play.
Kapanen only scored .57 points per game last year, which still puts him well up in all time scoring rates for players his age, but it paled in comparison to Nylander. Kapanen had periods of ineffectiveness, some due to illness and injury, but he and the team will be expecting more this year.
He has two years of high level pro experience in the SHL and a game and a half on the Marlies. He should be one of the best wingers on the team, but after an underwhelming Leafs camp, he might need to prove that.
Johnsson is lacking in skill away from the puck, and like Kapanen, he has not quite learned the level of aggression an NHL game requires. Kapanen seems ahead of him on the learning curve right now, though.
Look for Johnsson to pick up some power play points and to be a threat around the net at all times.
Rychel has played in the NHL more than most of the rest of the team, but it was not a good showing from him. Neither was the Leafs training camp, unfortunately. He left the first exhibition game very quickly after a fight and fared only somewhat better in his second.
Last year in Cleveland, he scored at .73 points per game in less than half a season of play, but his playoff performance did not look impressive. His regular season points, mostly assists, were good enough for second on the team, and he had a minuscule for the AHL shooting percentage under 7 , so the opportunities to score more were there.
This year, he has a huge opportunity to prove he can bring the right kind of grit and physicality to the team in a way that gets them more goals, not fewer.
Lindberg likely has the best game away from the puck of any of these top tier prospects, but he has not yet shown he can put that together into a consistent high level game. His scoring rate dropped after he was traded to Toronto, which could just be due to learning new systems, but Colin Smith s shot up, so with that comparison right there on the team, he did not look as good as he might have wanted.
He is not going to be a top rate scorer, but he has the tools to be a complementary winger who can forecheck and retrieve the puck. If he can play at his best more often Carl Soderberg Jersey, he should also be battling for one of the top jobs.
Right up until the end of training camp, it seemed like Soshnikov had a lock on an NHL job. Now, not only is he rehabbing a recurrent injury in the Marlies, but there is another body in front of him on the Leafs depth chart in Seth Griffith.
Soshnikov knows how to play the prove yourself game John Mitchell Jersey, though, so when he is well enough, expect him to play hard. When he is at the point at which he can be fully waiver exempt all year and still play in the NHL—mid December—expect him to be near the top of the call up list.
While he stays on the Marlies, the question is will he play the fourth line role he did last year, or will he play on a scoring line like he did in the NHL at times?
Despite a lot of fourth line minutes, he scored at a similar rate to Kapanen and Lindberg last year, so it seems like he should move up, but Sheldon Keefe rarely tried it.
Brendan Leipsic A
Leipsic is a veteran at 22, and he scored a lot last year, shot the puck a lot and looked good until the playoffs where his effectiveness cratered. He didn t just fail to get points; he wasn t anywhere near the net, and his shot rate dropped.
Now, he is suddenly surrounded by pros who are as young as he is. He needs to take a step up in his ability to play against coherent defence if he isn t going to get passed over for other options. That can be tough in the AHL because you see a lot of teams that are not very hard to play against.
Leipsic s strengths are his scoring touch and his play in tight to the net, and if he gets the chances, he should put up a lot of goals.
Next on the long list of wingers are a pair of rookies who are hard to predict, like rookies always are, but who come with some impressive pedigrees in amateur hockey.
Timashov is only a few months younger than Kapanen, but his pro experience is a handful of games in Sweden interspersed with time spent on junior teams there. He has spent the last two years in the QMJHL getting a lot of points, most of them assists.
He looked excellent in the rookie tournament, and is fast, good with the puck, dogged at getting it back, but pretty easy to shove off of it unless he is moving.
He has the skills to do what Kapanen did last year and play way over expectations for his age—reasonable expectations that is. Assuming he is Nylander 2.0 is not going to do him any favours. Set the bar at Kapanen s scoring rate and then see if he bests it.
He is not likely to play top lines right out of the gate, so he will have to earn his way up over the heads of those seasoned young pros on the team.
Moore is a year older than Timashov, and he has three years of college hockey behind him where he scored well and had success playing top line heavy minutes on a team that was a bit undersupplied in talent.
He also looked top notch in the rookie tournament and has a similar set of skills and weaknesses to Timashov.
They might as well get used to being paired up in everyone s mind, as they are about the same size too.
Lindberg could almost be in this category, but he has shown a little more offensive upside than the players who did land in this small group.
Rich Clune A
Clune is the first winger over 22 years old on this list.
Considering that his role on the team last year was fourth line muscle and occasional fighter http://www.coavalanchestore.com/andreas-martinsen-jersey-c-4.html, he took time out to score at a much higher rate than the standard AHL tough guy.
He should be no mystery to Marlies fans. He is tough in the board battles, plants his butt in the crease and gets some opportunistic points, and he will carefully not fight so much that he gets a suspension under the new rules.
He is one of the trio of leaders on this team pushing 30, and he will be a very valuable stabilizing influence with all that youth. No one is more surprised by that than Clune himself.
Greening, who did not quite make the Leafs roster, played a lot of AHL last year, but it was all for Binghamton, so don t take his poor showing there as indicative of his real ability.
He plays a tough, hard game, definitely a level up from Lindberg, and he proved in the NHL last year that he can skate with faster players and contribute. If he takes the demotion like Arcobello did last year, and gives his best, he could blow away the competition at this level.
At the very least, he can add some muscle to the high scoring wingers who need it.
Marchment is a rookie and a physical player who earned a spot on the Marlies with his play in the early part of training camp and preseason.
He played in the OHL for two years where he scored well, if not spectacularly, and kept his penalty minutes low while getting a reputation as a hard hitter. He does not have the profile of an enforcer, rather, he fits more in the mould of Lindberg or Greening, but he is at the very beginning of the learning curve and likely won t challenge them for ice time.
Marchment s job is to play well enough to not end up on a plane to Orlando.
Maggio has a career AHL points per game of .08 in 156 games. He is not a viable AHL player, and he exists solely to fight a few times so Clune doesn t end up with a suspension.
The list of defenders is less padded with extras and is mostly returnees from last year.
Rinat Valiev, Viktor Loov, Andrew Campbell and Justin Holl are returning familiar faces.
Holl is the only right shooter under contract, and all four are known quantities, with Valiev the brightest spark who should be looking to improve his game. Loov has not been impressing anyone in training camps this preseason, and it seems like he has stalled out at big hitting, reliable stay at home guy. Campbell will be captain again, and his role is to be everyone s dad.
Joining the team are four rookies all out of the CHL Andrew Nielsen, Nikolas Broulliard, Travis Dermott and Jon Jutzi.
Nielsen and Dermott should be the pair challenging Loov and Valiev for ice time. Broulliard, who is a good scorer, might fill in some of the missing points from the loss of T.J. Brennan, but he has to get the ice time to do it.
Jutzi looks like he is on the bubble to see time in Orlando, and he is currently on IR which might be the only reason he hasn’t been sent down.
William Wrenn is in his fifth year of pro hockey and is on a PTO. He has an ECHL contract to go back to, but so far, his good play in the preseason games and his right shot are keeping him on the roster.
The Marlies have four on the roster right now. Joining last year s tandem of Antoine Bibeau and Garret Sparks is Kasimir Kaskisuo and Jeff Glass.
The first three are all about the same age, Sparks and Bibeau have pro experience, while Kaskisuo is a former NCAA goalie, and none of the three looks close to NHL ready right now.
It seems like a three way race for the starters chair, with Kaskisuo the outside chance to win it and Sparks the odds on favourite if you want to judge by save percentage or Leafs training camp performance.
Glass is an interesting wrinkle. He is a 30 year old, experienced pro with KHL experience, and he has been excellent in training camp and preseason. If he ends up under contract, one of the other three will definitely have to go to Orlando.
Sheldon Keefe seemed to go with the hot hand in choosing Bibeau for the playoffs last year, so early season performance might be key for this group. Better to be lucky than good sometimes.
There is a lot of youth, talent, and drive to succeed on this year s Marlies. There is not a direct replacement for any of the top three players who have left, and they account for a lot of goals.
T.J. Brennan scored 25 goals last year. The rest of the defenders combined scored 28. There isn t one defender who is going to match his numbers, but the hope is the combined total is more than 28.
Colin Smith could have the year of his life as a centre, and he still would not match the points pace of Nylander and Arcobello, but there are wingers who should be contributing on all four lines.
One way to make up for the possibility of reduced scoring is to reduce the goals against. While it seemed sometimes like the Marlies won by outscoring their own foolishness, they allowed decently low goals against. Not best, but in the top five in the league. If they tighten that up a little, get the scoring from all over the lineup like it looks like they should be able to, they will be in the playoffs for sure.
|Posté le: 17/10/2016 08:50:00 Sujet du message: Publicité
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