Something happened on Monday that I won’t direclty mention, because the majority of you are showing signs of post-traumatic stress. But it’s lead to the focus in Toronto hockey to go, at least for a bit, to the Marlies. They’re in the second round against the Grand Rapids Griffins, and after suffering a 7-0 game 1 loss, rebounded to tie the series heading into Wednesday’s game three. As it stands, the Marlies still appear to be favourites to win the series, but you know what could make them better? The return of some key players to push them over the top.
Over the course of the series against Boston, the Leafs had eight players from the Marlies’ 2012 Calder Cup Finals roster in the lineup. It goes without saying that the AHL farm team has done well to give experiences to these players and make them become better players, which will happen with this year’s rookie class, as long as they advance further. As such, many are hoping for a few of those players to come back down to take care of some unfinished business. Here’s who can, and who can’t.
Joe Colborne, Jesse Blacker, Korbinian Holzer – All three players were on the Marlies roster before trade deadline day, and are under the seasons pro / games played combinations required to bypass waivers. Blacker actually has a while left before this is a concern, Holzer will begin to require waivers next season. As such, Blacker was assigned to the Marlies on Monday, with Colborne and Holzer following on Tuesday.
Ryan Hamilton – Thanks to the NHL rulebook, Hamilton was able to play for nine games before requiring waivers to be sent down to the Marlies, due to being previously waived after training camp. The Leafs took advantage of this to send him down before the trade deadline, ensuring him a spot on the Marlies roster if available, but called him back up. Logically, he’s since played exactly ten games (January 31 / March 23, 25, 26, 28, 30 / April 4, 6, 10, 16). Hamilton was quietly put on waivers today. Seeing as it’s the last year of his contract and you can’t use a player you claim on waivers afther the trade deadline, he will almost assuredly clear.and be assigned to the Marlies on Wednesday afternoon.
Nazem Kadri, Jake Gardiner, Matt Frattin, Mark Fraser, Ben Scrivens, Mike Kostka – None of these players were on the pre-deadline roster, so despite their play for the team earlier this year, cannot join the roster if sent down. Besides, all would require waivers, and realistically, Kostka and Fraser would be the only ones to clear. Even in a perfect word where that was possible, Kostka has some damage in the hand region and Fraser has A DENT IN HIS SKULL (allegedly) (probably). Similarly, Leo Komarov, who was on the team this year but not last year’s playoff team, is ineligible for the roster, though he is exempt from waivers. I’d guess he told the team he had no interest in returning to the AHL, which he left for Dynamo Moscow earlier in the year. Lastly, Colton Orr was on the playoff roster last year but not on the Marlies this year, would require waivers, wasn’t on the roster, nobody was really concerned anyway.
I would not be surprised in the slightest to see Blacker and/or Holzer in tomorrow’s lineup, seeing as they didn’t get games in with the Leafs and should be more than ready. Hamilton and Colborne may take a game or two to recooperate and get used to a new teammate or two in practice, depending on how much firepower Dallas Eakins thinks he needs at an immediate basis.
tl;dr – Colborne, Hamilton, Blacker, Holzer in, everybody else, season over.
PS – Go watch them play when/if they get home for Game 6 on Tuesday. Ricoh Coliseum has been much emptier than last season due to everybody’s obvious distraction, but with that over with, they could use the support.