As the Toronto Marlies continue to dwell in the basement of the AHL North Division, the leash on some of their young players is starting to shorten.
In the midst of Wednesday’s disastrous outing against Providence, which saw the Marlies get shutout 5-0, Keefe decided to tighten things up. Mason Marchment, one of the teams lone bright spots throughout the game, took a careless interference penalty in the final two minutes of the second period and as a result, was benched for the remainder of the third period.
“He has no chance of moving on beyond this level if he’s going to take penalties like that,” Keefe said. “He knows that.”
Benching one of your strongest players over an ill-advised penalty may seem extreme, but for an American Hockey League coach like Keefe, the goal is to develop the next crop of NHL players. Dmytro Timashov, a prominent figure in the Marlies top-six and on the man-advantage, is another player with a tendency to take bad penalties. In his previous six games, he’s averaged a minor penalty per night and half of his penalties have come in the third period. As a result, Keefe decided to scratch Timashov, who has 15 points in 22 games, for both of this weekends games against Laval and Belleville.
It’s important for players like Marchment, Timashov and all of the organization’s young prospects to stay on their A-game. The Marlies currently have 28 players on their roster and the team is loaded with quality AHL players, particularly at forward. In the last week, the Marlies got Adam Cracknell back from injury and brought in three new forwards–Sam Gagner (again), Morgan Klimchuk and Michael Carcone–to their lineup .
The internal competition is at an all-time-high for the Marlies.
“We got a lot of players on this team right now. There’s a lot of players that aren’t playing that are good hockey players,” veteran forward Chris Mueller said. “That’s where we’re at right now. We need to hold each other accountable, whether it’s penalties, whether it’s poor [defensive] play, whether it’s not being responsible—we need to get going here.
Forward Depth Chart
LW C RW
Trevor Moore–Sam Gagner*–Carl Grundstrom
Mason Marchment–Chris Mueller*–Jeremy Bracco
Michael Carcone–Adam Brooks–Morgan Klimchuk
Pierre Engvall–Adam Cracknell*–Josh Jooris
Dmytro Timashov–Colin Greening*–
* indicates veteran
The Marlies can only play five veterans a game, so it’s a forgone conclusion that one of their valued veterans will have to take a seat every once in a while. So when it comes to the veterans on the outside looking in, they’re battling with fellow veterans, not the youngsters, for a spot in the lineup.
However, Carcone and Klimchuk (who aren’t technically prospects and aren’t veterans either) have proven to be efficient AHL players. They’ve earned spots in the lineup and it’s up to the organizations prospects to bump them down the lineup, or out of it.
“[Carcone and Klimchuk] create a lot. They’re both high-energy players. Both have a lot of speed,” said Adam Brooks. “[With Carcone and Klimchuk]—and obviously internal competition—guys are just working that much harder to get into the lineup.”
The Marlies are firm believers in winning and development going hand-in-hand, and they’ve made it clear that they’re not going to scratch an effective player just to spoonfeed a young player an opportunity, if he doesn’t deserve it.
“There’s a standard here in Toronto and it’s to win,” added Mueller.
Three-Way Goalie Battle
Through 24 games this season, the Toronto Marlies have sacrificed 96 goals against, the fourth most in the league.
It’s no secret that the Marlies have been hindered by their shaky goaltending situation, but it’s unclear if a solution is on the horizon. The Marlies currently have three goaltenders on their roster, Eamon McAdam, Kasimir Kaskisuo and Jeff Glass. Glass hasn’t been a bee to sustain any momentum with the Marlies and it’s doubtful that he’s going to be given many opportunities going forward.
Kasimir Kaskisuo is still getting starts every so often, but he hasn’t been able to sustain much consistency. Eamon McAam, however, has been the most reliable of the bunch, but even he hasn’t been that great, boasting a .894 SV%.
Having three goaltenders on the roster creates an interesting dynamic between the crease.
“You know that any moment, if you slip up, there’s a guy right there that’s going to come in and take your job,” said goaltender Eamon McAdam after recording a 10-save shutout (yes, you read that correctly) against the Belleville Senators on Sunday. “It’s a unique situation with three guys, but it really pushes you and it keeps competition at a premium, at all times.”
News and Notes
- The Marlies are currently 10-9-3-2, (6th in North division)
- Timothy Liljegren will be out week-to-week with a high ankle sprain
- Rasmus Sandin is currently scoring at a 0.47 point-per-game pace. That pegs him 12th amongst rookie defenceman (that have played over 10 games).
- Adam Brooks scored OT winner in the Marlies 1-0 win over Belleville on Sunday
— Jacob Stoller (@JLStoller) December 9, 2018
Marlies will host the Syracuse Crunch on Wednesday and then head to Winnipeg to face off against the Manitoba Moose on Friday and Saturday.