The Toronto Marlies played the first of four straight games on the road in Binghamton on Thursday night against the affiliate of the Ottawa Senators. The Marlies fell 3-2 in a hard fought game despite out shooting the Senators 48-25. Here are five things that caught my eye in the game:
1. Paul Ranger – After three years away from the game, Ranger appears to be finding his legs for the Marlies. Dallas Eakins had him paired with Korbinian Holzer at even strength and he was on the top power play unit with Jake Gardiner, which shows the confidence the coach has in him. He doesn’t do anything spectacular, but he moves well and you can tell that he is an intelligent player. He makes good decisions with the puck and it looked like the game was really coming easy to him on Thursday night.
2. Mark Fraser – Fraser seems to be the guy paying the price for Ranger’s good play. Fraser and Holzer made up the Marlies shutdown pair last year after he came over in a trade from the Syracuse Crunch and I wrote earlier how I thought he could be a guy that makes the big club this year, yet he seems to be slipping down the depth chart. He had a fight in the first period, but he was also victimized on the Senators first goal as he and his partner, Jesse Blacker, got crossed up in their coverage. Fraser saw very limited action in the third period as I counted him only having two shifts.
3. Carter Ashton – Earlier in the season I was questioning how far Ashton had fallen down the organizations depth chart, but tonight he was playing on the top line with Keith Aucoin and Nazem Kadri. Ashton was a force throughout the game showing, the promise that the Leaf brass saw in him when they made the trade with Tampa Bay last season. He scored a goal in the second period, but what was most impressive was the nature of the goal. He paid the price in front of the net to screen the Senators goalie before locating the puck as it rebounded off the back board and sticking it under the bar. Ashton looks like a power forward and the game he played on Thursday is the way he’ll need to play to be effective at the next level.
4. Jerry D’Amgio – D’Amigo had a very good season with the Marlies last year and after his performance in the playoffs he looked like a guy that many people thought could excel in a third or fourth line role in the NHL; similar to Dan Paille. However, the more I seem him play, the more I think that he won’t be more than a third or fourth line player at the AHL level. He is such a good skater that you can’t help but think what could be, but he fails to make a positive impact on the game. He had an opportunity on a two on one in the second period and he failed to make anything happen, falling when he was pressured by the defenseman. It’s almost as though his feet are moving too fast for his mind and his hands. He reminds me of the speedster from The Mighty Ducks movies, Luis Mendoza.
5. Kadri’s Magic – I’d be hard pressed to talk about this game without mentioning Nazem Kadri’s assist on Matt Frattin’s goal. Kadri showed off his skill with a nasty no look pass finding Frattin in front of the net for his fourth goal of the season. Kadri showed flashes throughout the game and along with Ashton, were the two best forwards for the Marlies on the night.
Follow Tony on Twitter: @TheDailyBites