Here’s a nice overview of the Toronto club fresh off the presses from d.E. It’s good to be able to decipher what’s going on out on the ice, and why. This is really good stuff for the hockey fans–new and old.
But before we get to that, I forgot to mention that Phan Nation members should wear their “Phamily” T-shirts tonight.
Despite using the eye-opening total of 49 different players over the course of the 2014/15 American Hockey League campaign, the Toronto Marlies still managed to finish seventh in the Western Conference and earn a place in the Calder Cup playoffs … (to put things in better perspective, the Lehigh Valley Phantoms iced a total of 36 different players last season).The Marlies returned seven of their eight top point-scorers from last season and got off to a fast start in winning four of their first five AHL games this term before falling 4-1 to the Binghamton Senators on Saturday night. It was the second game in upstate New York in as many nights for the traveling Canadian club; on Friday evening, Toronto thoroughly dismantled the Rochester Americans 8-2. Fatigue could be a factor as the Marlies continue their southward journey to eastern Pennsylvania and drop the puck for the third time in as many days..Only nine players in the entire 30-team AHL had more than the 61 points (21 go, 10 pen, + 24 def in 76 ga) that the small but skillful Connor Brown (5’11” 170 lbs) last season. However, the 6th round pick (# 156 overall) of the Toronto Maple Leafs at the 2012 NHL Draft did not dress for the Toronto Marlies game against the Binghamton Senators in upstate New York on Saturday night. The status of the 21-year-old Brown, who made the AHL’s official All-Rookie team last term, is something for spectators at the PPL Center in downtown Allentown to keep track of late Sunday afternoon..The Marlies are certain to be without their leading goal-scorer this fall as Byron Froese (4 ga, 3 go, 0 as, 0 pen, – 1 def) was recalled to the NHL by the Toronto Maple Leafs on Friday. The 24-year-old center who was the 4th round pick (# 119 overall) of the Chicago Black Hawks at the 2009 NHL Draft had a breakout season (46 ga, 18 go, 42 pts, 26 pen, + 22 def) for the Marlies at the AHL level after being promoted from the ECHL’s Cincinnati Cyclones last term..The Marlies will most likely have their leading goal-scorer from last season, Matt Frattin (59 ga, 26 go, 48 pts, 26 pen, + 10 def), the 27-year-old right wing from the University of North Dakota who was the 4th round pick (# 99 overall) of the Toronto Maple Leafs at the 2007 NHL Draft.,Speaking of injuries, the Marlies have been without quality stay-at-home defenseman Petter Granberg (53 ga, 1 go, 15 pts, 30 pen, + 14 def in the AHL last term) all season long so far. The 4th round pick (# 116 overall) of the Toronto Maple Leafs at the 2010 NHL Draft who earned a gold medal for Sweden at the 2012 IIHF World Junior Championships and then followed that up with a gold medal for Tre Kronor’s senior national team at the 2013 IIHF World Championships one year later, underwent surgery to repair a torn achilles tendon in June and is still out of commission. Granberg appeared in seven NHL games (0 go, 0 as, 6 pen, – 1 def) for the Toronto Maple Leafs last season before skating with Sweden at the 2015 IIHF World Championships and should be considered a bit of a loss for the Marlies..The Toronto Marlies lost yet another Swedish defenseman earlier this fall when Tom Nilsson, the 4th round pick (# 100 overall) of the Toronto Maple Leafs at the 2011 NHL Draft who appeared in 44 AHL games (1 go, 6 pts, 26 pen, – 4 def) for the Marlies last term, decided to return to Europe in early October. The 22-year-old blueliner rejoined his old club, HC Vastra Frolunda Gothenburg, and became teammates with former Lehigh Valley Phantoms defender Oliver Lauridsen in the process. Nilsson, of course, had already been teammates with current Lehigh Valley Phantoms rearguard Robert Hagg on the Swedish team which won the silver medal at the 2013 IIHF World Junior Championships.,The Toronto Marlies were reinforced earlier this week when defenseman Frank Corrado, the 22-year-old who was the 5th round pick (# 150 overall) of the Vancouver Canucks at the 2011 NHL Draft, was sent down on a conditioning assignment..The AHL farm club of the Toronto Maple Leafs have faithfully alternated their two goaltenders so far this season. If this pattern continues, then it will be second-year pro Antoine Bibeau (3 ga, 2.29 avg, .897 svpct) who gets the start against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms at the PPL Center in Allentown on Sunday. The 21-year-old was the 6th round pick (# 172 overall) of the Toronto Maple Leafs at the 2013 NHL Draft before serving as the backup netminder for the Toronto Marlies (31 ga, 2.69 avg, .913 svpct) last term. Bibeau (6’2″ 210 lbs) is has good size but is said to need more consistency, if not experience..TORONTO MARLIES PLAYERS TO WATCH AT PPL CENTER.The Budding Superstar … # 62 – William NYLANDERThe 1st round pick (# 8 overall) of the Toronto Maple Leafs at the 2014 NHL Draft has quite simply done nothing but rack up points as a teenager for the Marlies at the AHL level (43 ga, 17 go, 38 pts, 4 pen, + 8 def) since first crossing the Atlantic Ocean just a few weeks after the New Year last season. The 19-year-old center, whose father had a lot of success both in the NHL and with Sweden at the international level, was a standout player for Tre Kronor, himself, with three goals and ten points in seven games at the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championships last winter and never did return to Swedish elite league club Mo Do Ornskoldsvik, where he was teammates with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms defenseman Hagg two seasons ago. Nylander, who skates very well, has impressive hands and excels at handling puck at high speeds, is the leading scorer for the Marlies this fall with three goals and six points in six AHL games thus far..The Highly Touted Prospect … # 42 – Kasperi KAPANENThe 1st round pick (# 22 overall) of the Pittsburgh Penguins at the 2014 NHL Draft had a spectacular debut at the PPL Center in Allentown as a member of the Wilkes-Barre Scranton AHL club with a goal and an assist during the Baby Pens’ 3-0 victory over the Phantoms last spring. The talented 19-year-old right wing, who father was a long-time NHL and Finland national team player, was a part of the blockbuster deal that saw United States Olympic hero Phil Kessel traded from the Toronto Maple Leafs to the Pittsburgh Penguins at the beginning of last July. Kapanen (5’11” 180 lbs), who had three goals and five points in seven Calder Cup playoff games for Wilkes-Barre Scranton last season, has two goals on seven shots and a defensive rating of + 1 in four AHL games for the Marlies so far this fall..The Former NHL Regular … # 18 – Richard PANIKThe 2nd round pick (# 52 overall) of the Tampa Bay Lightning at the 2009 NHL Draft was a regular (76 ga, 11 go, 20 pts, 49 pen, – 8 def) for the Toronto Maple Leafs last season after signing as a free agent but failed to make the cut in training camp this time around. The 24-year-old winger with good size (6’1″ 208 lbs) also has terrific speed and great stickhandling skills but could improve his play off the puck on defense. Panik, who has played in 151 NHL games (19 go, 39 pts, 74 pen, – 19 def), also has a good measure of experience having represented Slovakia at four major senior international tournaments (24 ga, 0 go, 2 as) including the 2014 Winter Olympic Games..Have Hatchet, Will Travel … # 49 – Justin JOHNSONThe 34-year-old veteran bone breaker was signed the AHL club as a free agent this summer after spending all of last season with the Alaska Aces (45 ga, 3 go, 5 pts, 147 pen, – 6 def) in the East Coast Hockey League. Clearly, the well-traveled right wing’s main purpose in hockey life is best indicated by career statistics showing no less than 1,410 penalty minutes, a – 42 defensive rating and only 32 goals in 390 games at the NHL, AHL and ECHL levels. Perhaps not surprisingly, Johnson (6’1″ 220 lbs) dropped the gloves on his debut for the Toronto Marlies against the Binghamton Senators last night.