When the Toronto Maple Leafs drafted Jerry D’Amigo in the sixth round of the 2009 NHL Draft, it looked like they were getting a more offensive player. Well, four years of development have changed that. D’Amigo is known as a grinder that excels on the penalty kill.
D’Amigo has spent the past four years for playing with the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Engineers, the Kitchener Rangers of the OHL and the Toronto Marlies of the AHL. Over that time, he has developed his defensive game that finally has led to a chance with the Maple Leafs.
He has only played six games this season, most of it on the fourth line. Now, you can’t judge much from 8:13 of ice time, his most time on ice before the game against the Chicago Blackhawks. With that game however, D’Amigo was moved to the third line alongside Jay McClement and Nikolai Kulemin.
That line’s job was to shutdown the Blackhawks’ top of line of Jonathan Toews, Patrick Sharp and Marian Hossa. For the most part they did that, with Toews and Hossa registering an assist each on the night. To top it all off, D’Amigo scored his first NHL goal and added his first NHL assist in that same game.
Now, one game does not a career make, so D’Amigo will have to continue to play like he did against Chicago in every game. He should definitely get the chance. After helping shutdown Toews, I’m sure that line will draw up against Sidney Crosby‘s line as the Leafs face the Pittsburgh Penguins tonight.
Michael Traikos of the National Post compared D’Amigo’s game to that of Leo Komarov. Komarov was a valuable piece of the Leafs lineup last year, leading the team in hits and being a pain in the opposition’s behinds. When he returned to the KHL for this season, he left a hole that wasn’t filled in the off-season.
If D’Amigo can play that type of game on a consistent basis, shutting down the opposition’s best players while occasionally getting on the score sheet, the Leafs will have another valuable piece for this year.
The only question is, when players like Tyler Bozak, Dave Bolland and Colton Orr return to the lineup, will D’Amigo be a victim of the numbers game and be sent back to the Marlies? That would, in my mind, be a mistake as he gives the Leafs another good penalty-killer and we all know the Leafs struggles with that as of late.