Toronto Maple Leafs: Marlies News and Notes

Apr 3, 2017; Buffalo, NY, USA; Toronto Maple Leafs right wing Connor Brown (12) against the Buffalo Sabres at KeyBank Center. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 3, 2017; Buffalo, NY, USA; Toronto Maple Leafs right wing Connor Brown (12) against the Buffalo Sabres at KeyBank Center. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports /

The Toronto Maple Leafs let Three Restricted Free Agents Walk

The Toronto Maple Leafs will qualify only four of the seven players who become RFA’s July 1st, 2017.

Griffith, Kalinin, Bibeau: Not Qualified

Seth Griffith was one of the best Marlies players during abbreviated his time with the club. Griffith was picked up on waivers twice during the season.  He went pointless in three games with the Toronto Maple Leafs. With the Marlies, he scored 10 goals and 44 points in 38 games, then led the team in playoff scoring.

Sergey Kalinin was a midseason pickup from the New Jersey Devils for Viktor Loov. He struggled with the Marlies posting two goals and four points in 19 games. Loov was a fan favorite at the Ricoh due to his thundering open ice hits. Both players are RFA’s at season’s end.

Antoine Bibeau entered the season as the Marlies number one goalie. After a red-hot October with a 5-0-1 record, he collapsed and lost his job.  The Leafs have decided to move forward with Garrett Sparks and use one of their 50 contracts on another player.  As a Marlies fan, I liked Bibeau and hope he catches on with another team.

The Marlies: A New Direction

First, when the Toronto Maple Leafs reneged on permission for the Avalanche to talk with Kyle Dubas it left many scratching their heads. Information is scarce yet it seems that Dubas will sign an extension  and have more responsibilities with the Leafs. Veterans such as Laich, Michalek and Greening will no longer take ice time from the kids while a prospect like Dmytro Timashov fights for ice time.

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With Dubas having control of the Marlies in addition to more input with the Leafs, the future looks even brighter.

The Toronto Marlies:  Development First

One day, should the Marlies win the Calder Cup, it will be well deserved. Even better, when an injury occurs to a Leafs player and their NHL ready replacement is six blocks down Lakeshore Blvd.

As a Marlies fan, I want them competitive every game. Above all, fans want to stand and cheer and scream until hoarse (yes we do that at the Ricoh) but I understand the concept of the Marlies as the most important development tool for the Leafs success.

Connor Brown was a Marlies player. He developed for 110 games while scoring 32 goals and 90 points.  Kasperi Kapanen played 87 games while learning a 200-foot game, the penalty kill and scoring big goals. Nazem Kadri, Jake Gardiner, and William Nylander all spent time with the team. Komarov, Rielly, Hyman, Leivo, Soshnikov, Gauthier and Carrick have all spent some time polishing their skill-sets. Travis Dermott and Andrew Neilsen played their first pro years for the team in 2016-17 while Andreas Borgman and Calle Rosen will dress for the upcoming year while adjusting to the North American Game. Important? You bet. A dedicated development program is the difference between a “One and Done” appearance in the playoffs and a potential dynasty.

No Free Passes

I am thrilled at what this means to the organization. Kyle Dubas, will take on a greater role in the franchise’s future. For both the Leafs and the Marlies. I am excited to see the kids play next season. Sure there might be a veteran or two. You can’t dress 23 youngsters and expect any kind of success. The difference dressing Andrew Campbell, the captain and a good veteran and Milan Michalek? Campbell wants to be here.

The veteran laden Marlies were last in the division when the new year rolled over. Once the veterans were jettisoned and kids started playing, the Marlies started winning.

The most valuable lesson learned by this next group of Marlies youngsters? No one dresses for Mike Babcock who does not work. There are no free passes.

Next: Leafs Should Pursue Weal

No free passes. Work hard. Develop skills. Become the absolute best player you can be. The Toronto Maple Leafs organization has every possible tool at your disposal to improve yourselves. If these young players learn that lesson first, the rest has a way of working itself out.

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