Maple Leafs News: Marner, Marlies and World Cup

It has been an eventful week and a half for the Toronto Maple Leafs and their numerous prospects and players. The London Knights and Mitch Marner did battle for the Memorial Cup, the Toronto Marlies tried to stave off elimination in the Calder Cup playoffs and numerous Maple Leafs were named to World Cup rosters for the upcoming tournament.

As always, if you’d like to read the previous edition of  Maple Leafs News, it can be found right here for your convenience.

Marner and the Knights Win Memorial Cup

The London Knights were one of the most dominant teams in junior hockey. Led by the line of Mitch Marner, Christian Dvorak and Matthew Tkachuk, the Knights were virtually unstoppable in the regular season and playoffs. Much of that success was due to the stellar play of Marner, who finished the season with 116 points.

London went into the playoffs and Marner somehow sped up his production and finished with an insane 44 points in 18 games. This helped the Knights clinch a berth in the Memorial Cup, where they steamrolled through the competition en route to the final.

The championship was played against Rouyn-Noranda Huskies, with the Knights eking out a close 3-2 win courtesy of an overtime winner by the aforementioned, Tkachuk. The Knights have now earned the right to call themselves the best team in the Canadian Hockey League.

Marner had an amazing year and was rewarded with some serious hardware. The former fourth-overall pick won the OHL Championship and was named OHL Playoff MVP. He also took home the Memorial Cup and was named MVP of the tournament. To top it all off, Marner was also named the CHL’s Player of the Year.

It was a magical season for Marner and the Knights and Leaf fans can only be happy with how one of their top prospects is performing.

Toronto Marlies Eliminated

It was a tough series against the Hershey Bears that brought an end to the Toronto Marlies playoff run. The Marlies started off by dismantling the Bridgeport Sound Tigers before running into the extremely tough Albany Devils in the second round.

It took a full seven games before the Marlies were able to advance to the third round. They were down three games to none against Hershey before winning game four on the back of William Nylander’s hat trick. However, the run was about to end and the Marlies ended up losing in five games as the Bears took a close 3-2 victory.

It was a great run for the Marlies. The Maple Leafs’ many prospects on the team got some incredibly valuable playoff experience and that should only serve to make them better players in the future.

Maple Leafs at the World Cup of Hockey

The full rosters for the World Cup of Hockey were recently announced and there are a few Maple Leafs who cracked the list. Morgan Rielly, one of the Leafs’ young guns and future leaders, will help anchor the blueline for the North American team. He may not be a Maple Leaf yet, but Auston Matthews was also named to the forward corps of the same team.

Nikita Zaitsev
(Nikita Zaitsev. Photo: Frankie Fouganthin, Wikipedia CC)

Representing the American team, will be speedy and slick forward, James van Riemsdyk. He only played 40 games for the Maple Leafs this year due to a non-displaced fracture in his left foot. He then suffered a setback in his recovery and was shut down for the rest of the year.

Team Russia will have the newly minted, Nikita Zaitsev, to help patrol their blueline, Finland gets the always agitating, Leo Komarov and forward, Milan Michalek, will represent the Czech Republic.

It will be an interesting tournament with lots of incredibly talented players. It will be a good showcase, especially for the teams’ younger talent like Rielly and soon to be Leaf, Matthews. Leaf fans should keep a close eye on all the games to get an indication of how their players will match up against some of the best in the world.