There is always some kind of news going on in the hockey world that involves the Toronto Maple Leafs. While the team itself isn’t making news, it is actually their prospects who have really stepped up and propelled themselves into the spotlight.
In this edition of Maple Leafs News, we’ll be discussing the Toronto Marlies advancing in the AHL playoffs and Leafs prospects who will be playing for the Memorial Cup.
If you’d like to read the previous edition of Maple Leafs News, it can be found right here.
Toronto Marlies Moving to Third Round
The Maple Leafs AHL affiliate has had a fantastic year. They finished as the top team in the American Hockey League with a 54 win season that totalled them 114 points. No other team in the AHL was close to those numbers, and the Marlies earned themselves a first round matchup with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers as a result.
The Marlies won the series in three games. The Tigers didn’t go quietly however, and in the third game forced the Marlies to erase a three-goal deficit. Once the game was won it was on to the second round against their new opponent, the Albany Devils.
The Devils and Marlies clashed in a series that saw both high powered teams gunning for the win. It took an absolutely wild game seven that was finally won by the Marlies on the back of unlikely goal scorer Rich Clune. The journeyman scored the game-winning goal with under three minutes remaining in regulation to give the Marlies a 4-3 win. An interesting stat is that Clune’s goal was the first postseason goal of his almost decade-long pro career. He picked the perfect time to find his scoring touch.
— Norm Kelly (@norm) May 17, 2016
The Marlies will now play the Hershey Bears in the Eastern Conference finals. The two teams split their meeting in the regular season, with each team taking one game apiece. The first game will kick off May 20th to determine which club will play for the Calder Cup.
It promises to be an explosive battle, and with so much at stake, you can expect that both teams will bring their full arsenal of talent and scoring each and every night.
Maple Leaf Prospects in the Memorial Cup
Continuing the theme of Leafs prospects, the Memorial Cup is on the horizon, and with it, the chance to watch three Leafs young guns do battle for the prestigious trophy.
Representing the London Knights of the OHL are Mitch Marner and J.J. Piccinich. Marner has been making headlines all season long as he finished the year with 116 points. He somehow sped up in the playoffs and was named the postseason MVP with a performance that included 16 goals and 44 points in only 18 games.
Playing on the same team as guys like Christian Dvorak, Matthew Tkachuk, and the aforementioned Marner, Piccinich is often overlooked. The forward was drafted by the Maple Leafs 103rd overall in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft. He had a great year with London and scored 30 goals and 66 total points. He’s been quiet in the playoffs and is more suited to checking line role.
He does have some offensive instincts and had 12 points in the 18 game playoff run. Both players are important to London’s success and the team will need them firing on all cylinders in order to have a realistic shot at the Memorial Cup.
The final Maple Leafs prospect is Martins Dzierkals, who will be representing the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies. The Huskies have looked dominant all year long and Dzierkals was a large part of that success. He finished the regular season with 24 goals and 67 points in 59 games.
Congrats to prospect Martins Dzierkals who had 2 goals including the GWG to help Rouyn-Noranda win the QMJHL Title. pic.twitter.com/rNrTLtxnsC
— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) May 13, 2016
He’s also been a force in the playoffs with 17 points in 20 games. He was picked by the Maple Leafs in last years draft, where they took him in the third round, 68th overall. He’s blossomed into a scoring forward with a lot of upside, and should be a treat to watch as the Huskies make a run.
For interested Maple Leaf fans, the Knights and Huskies will be facing off against each other Tuesday, May 24th in what promises to be a battle of explosive offences.