Stuart Percy Rejoins the Toronto Maple Leafs
That didn’t take long.
After an impressive debut for the Leafs where Percy recorded an assist in each of his first three games and logged 20+ minutes of ice time per game, there was a notable decline in his performance over the last two weeks.
The points streak ended, the ice time dropped and he found himself sitting in the press box one night. None of this should be taken as a slight against Percy – at just 21 years of age, the Oakville, Ontario native has a bright future ahead of him – but it does underscore his lack of experience at the professional level.
With Cody Franson back to 100% health and Jake Gardiner out of the coach’s dog house, the Leafs also had trouble justifying Percy’s continued presence on the big club. They tried playing with seven defencemen to keep Percy in the lineup, but the end result wasn’t favourable.
All of these factors led to Percy’s reassignment.
“We felt [Percy] struggled in the two games that we played him in [with seven defencemen],” head coach Randy Carlyle explained. “We just felt if we were going to play seven defencemen and continue to play seven defencemen, that it was going to be counter-productive for some of our forward group and to Stuart Percy not getting enough minutes.”
This basic situation hasn’t changed over the course of the last five days so the decision to recall Percy should be viewed with some caution. He might simply be back to provide some depth in case Dion Phaneuf or Morgan Rielly isn’t able to play a full game tonight against the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Phaneuf left for part of Tuesday’s 4-0 win over the Buffalo Sabres while Rielly left practice early yesterday. Both players are apparently fine now so the decision to recall Percy is likely a precautionary one and I don’t expect to see him in the lineup tonight.
What are your thoughts on how the Leafs have handled Percy’s development to date? Let us know in the comments section below.