With the news that the lockout is now over, players will be heading into NHL training camps very shortly. That means that many AHL squads, such as the Toronto Marlies, are going to be losing a lot of key contributors. The Marlies sit atop the Western Conference standings at the moment, but they will surely be losing a few players they rely on heavily over the next couple of weeks.
Here is a look at a few guys that could be heading to the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Ben Scrivens – G
Scrivens will surely be heading to the Leafs, unless Brian Burke does something crazy, like trade for Roberto Luongo. Scrivens does have 12 games of NHL experience under his belt from the 2011-12 season, and he figures to backup James Reimer on opening night. After a slow start to the year with the Marlies, he has now bounced back and has his save percentage up to .917, and his goals against average down to 2.22.
Matt Frattin – RW
Frattin played 56 games for the Leafs last year and didn’t look out of place. This season, after a return from injury, he exploded offensively and now has 16 points in 20 games with the Marlies in 2012-13. Frattin will surely add some scoring depth on a Leafs roster that desperately needs it.
Jake Gardiner – D
The smooth skating defenseman is still out with concussion like symptoms, so there is a strong chance he won’t be ready to go when the NHL season starts. If Gardiner was healthy, however, he would certainly be in the Leafs line-up on opening day. Gardiner had 30 points last year with the Leafs, and posted 17 in just 22 games in 2012-13 before his injury. He is arguably the most important part of the Leafs future.
Paul Ranger – D
Ranger returned to hockey this season after a two year absence, and has hardly missed a step. He has already compiled 18 points in 28 games with the Marlies and has 270 NHL games to his credit. Ranger probably figured to be more of a call-up option in 2012-13 with his experience, but with the injury to Gardiner that could open the door for Ranger to crack the squad.
Mike Kostka – D
It’s hard to believe Kostka has never skated in an NHL game. The undrafted defenseman has had some pretty impressive AHL seasons, including a 55 point campaign with the Rochester Americans in 2010-11. This season he has 34 points in 33 games and is the third leading scorer among AHL defenseman. He at least deserves a look at Leafs training camp.
Nazem Kadri – C
It feels like it’s going to be now or never for Kadri. After being drafted in 2009 seventh overall, he has bounced back and forth between the Marlies and Maple Leafs for three seasons. The issue for Kadri has always been consistency and turning the puck over. He seems to have improved slightly in both areas with the Marlies in 2012-13 as he sits at plus-4, and is averaging almost a point a game.