Today the Toronto Maple Leafs have made good on something that has seemed to be in the works since last season: They’ve called up Mason Marchment from the Toronto Marlies.
As you can see, the moustache game on the Leafs just got better. Marchment has been severely troubled by injuries for years; he’s seemed to be poised to bring his “big man’s” game to the NHL before and yet keeps ending up on IR instead.
That’s a Marlies-style big man’s game, of course. His forte is net-front troublemaker, board battles, and his sneakily good passing game and mild scoring touch that has led him to becoming a standard on the third and sometimes second line for the Marlies — as long as he’s healthy. He missed quite a bit of this season injured, and has played in only 11 games. He played in 44 in each of the last two years, and has the kind of playoff points totals in the AHL that should make you take notice — when the games get scrappy, and the whistle gets put away, he’s able to drive the net and stay there while his more talented linemates make the magic happen. He moves up the lineup, not down in those situations.
Marchment actually began his Leafs career on an AHL contract playing in the ECHL in Orlando. If he does make the NHL playing roster, he will be the first non-goalie that Kyle Dubas has personally developed from the ECHL to the NHL. Justin Holl did his ECHL time in another organization.
Will Marchment actually play in a game? It seems very unlikely that the Leafs will sit out Adam Brooks in his home town. They are way too in love with special moments for that to happen, and Brooks played very well against the Wild. The fourth liner Sheldon Keefe has played grudgingly is Frederik Gauthier. And for all he has the physical stature to match Marchment’s, he lacks the assertiveness to put it to its best use. Dmytro Timashov is also sometimes in and sometimes not.
Marchment, 24, and waivers exempt for two more years or for 60 NHL games played, has gotten into trouble in the AHL finding the right side of the line between assertive physical play and just being penalty-prone, but he’s not anything like a standard AHL tough guy in the penalties he takes. He’s also a truly talented player — just not top line material.
With an intriguing mix of skills that are not much like anything else the Leafs have on their roster, it will be very interesting to see how he fits in. If he does make the team that is (that waiver exemption will see him straight back in the AHL when other players come off LTIR). It seems odd they’d pop him on a plane and fly him to Winnipeg just for a press box treat, though.
If Justin Holl has a unique history for an NHLer, Marchment’s is even more interesting. When was the last time someone who debuted in the OHL at 19 made the NHL?