With their win on Monday night, the Toronto Marlies have found themselves promoted to the National Hockey League after a 3-0 victory over the Montreal Canadiens in their preseason qualifying round ahead of the 2019-20 season.
If the Habs lose to the Marlies they get relegated to the AHL and the Marlies get promoted. I'm sorry it's the law— Acting the Fulemin (@ATFulemin) September 24, 2019
The Maple Leafs prospect team now has a new enemy and will have to face their former screeched-in b’ys in the first game of the season. Auston Matthews and co going up against Nic Petan and his squad. One can only imagine it will be a tight match as the two sides know each other so well.
If only that were true. Alas...
Good morning, it’s a sunny day in [insert city or township here] and Leafs nation is pleased to have beaten the Habs’ NHL roster — who expect to make the playoffs — with their B-team. Yes, I know there are many caveats, but let us have this!
Mike Babcock said before the game that he threw together all the players desperate for a job, hoping to see a few of them rise to the top. After the game, I think it was quite clear who stepped up and put a claim in for a roster spot on Wednesday and/or October 2nd.
One of those players was C/LW Nic Petan, who led the team in points (2a), shots (5), shot attempts (6), and scoring chances (5). He was instrumental in pushing the Leafs forward and creating great chances out of good chances, and directly set up the team’s first two goals.
Another player who showed his quality was Egor Korshkov. He came out strong from the get-go and used his size and playmaking ability to not only create zone time and chances, but finish them off. He finished the game with two beauty goals. Dating back to the Traverse City Prospect tournament, you can see that Korshkov has found that comfort in the North American rink and is starting to play his game and be a difference maker on the ice.
The third player who Babcock acknowledged specifically was pressbox hermit Justin Holl. He was able to use his body effectively to win puck battles in his own zone before transitioning the puck out in the way that made him famous in the AHL. It was a great night for him and he definitely stood above his (very tall) peers on a d-corps that has done little to impress this preseason.
Mike Babcock: "I thought Korshkov had a real good game. Holl, Petan, guys had opportunities & did something with it & that's what you're looking for. There was no place to hide tonight. You were playing against real good players & you had to play hard & they did that."— Mark Masters (@markhmasters) September 24, 2019
Will all three of these guys make it into October 2nd’s lineup? Likely not. Petan should have an easy job beating current placeholder Dmytro Timashov for the 4LW spot. However, there’s still an expectation that Egor Korshkov returns to the Marlies for some success in a top-six role before making the jump to the Leafs in the next 6-12 months. Holl might make it, but he still has an upward climb with Martin Marincin, Rasmus Sandin, and even potentially one of Jordan Schmaltz, Kevin Gravel, or Ben Harpur should things change within the next two preseason games.
Oh and let’s not forget that Michael Hutchinson shut out the Habs. His 38 saves went a long way to comfort minds worried about the backup goalie situation. Michal Neuvirth was supposed to start the game, but stayed in Toronto due to an injury or “not feeling up to it” according to Babcock, so the backup slot is right there for Hutchinson to take.
So with Marlies cuts ever looming, what do you think the Leafs lineup at forward, defense, and in net will look like?
Here is the recap from the game by Seldo.
Katya continued the defense conversation here.
The Toronto Marlies have announced their AHL camp roster. It’s compiled of *a lot* of PTOs from the ECHL and around the hockey world, so go check out the list and brag about any names you remember from junior and college hockey!
And ICYMI: the Back to Excited boys are back... to excited... with a friend!
Seldo also found this very interesting article about OHL graduates who are now playing in U Sports (formerly CIS) around Canada.
Oh, and the Tampa Bay Lightning signed Brayden Point. Jerks.
Bonus question: if you were GM of the A and B Maple Leafs, how would you construct your roster (keeping in mind the limits of the salary cap). For example, how much player movement would you do throughout the games?
Where would the Marlies finish in the Atlantic Division?