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Photo Credit: Nick Barden

Marlies Mailbag: Which of the defencemen has stood out most?

It feels like yesterday that the Marlies started their season, and I began my quest on following this team for real. Yes, I did technically do that last year, but not to the extent where I am now. I’m going to practices, every home game and just trying to talk to every player possible.

I wanted to do a mailbag series because I know people have a lot of questions.

Here at TLN, we do put out a weekly update on the Marlies’ season, but I know some of you might want to know about specific players, and that’s what I’m going to try and bring here. I’m not too sure how often I will be doing this, but I will try as best as I can to get one or two every month.

But without further ado, let’s answer some Marlies questions.

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This is a question almost everyone has, and it’s understandable. The 25-year-old has five goals in his first six games with the Marlies. He’s doing an incredible job.

I, personally, don’t think he belongs in the AHL. He’s proved how good he can be, yet I would like to see him do this consistently before making any final judgements.

So, I’ll say yes he does get to the Leafs, but in due time.

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I know I’ve written an article on him and just the person he is, but there’s a lot that Ho-Sang does for this team. He’s a leader to start. The 25-year-old has spoken about how he wants to teach the younger guys, so they don’t make some of the mistakes that he did.

Let me just clarify that these mistakes are not bad.

Ho-Sang said it was mostly about staying focused. While you can get focused right before you step on the ice, why not try to be ready ten minutes before, he said? When talking with him, that’s one thing that stood out to me. He’s tried hard to become focused before stepping onto the ice, and that’s shown in his play.

Alex Steeves is a really good hockey player. The fact that he’s coming off an injury and has three points in his first two pro games is impressive.

It feels like he was just shot out of a cannon once he entered the lineup. I find it so fascinating that in the two games he’s played (again coming off an injury), he looks like one of the best players on the ice.

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His speed, his skill, his knowledge of where to be on the ice makes him such an effective player.

One of the biggest things that stood out to me was his mentality. He spoke a lot before and after his return about being ready for this opportunity. The 21-year-old spoke about how even though he was injured, he was able to come back and play like he didn’t miss any time. That stands out to me a lot.

There’s a reason why he was Hayley Wickenheiser’s guinea pig at Leafs development camp.

Steeves shares a mentality similar to Nick Robertson. He’s mature, he knows what he wants, and he won’t stop until he gets there.

I honestly don’t think there’s going to be a game where Steeves doesn’t play well in. He said before he got into the lineup that he wanted to dominate, and he’s doing just that right now.

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The Marlies’ defence core has been crazy. There are so many players there that I forget who’s missing from the lineup at some points. Mind you, I have a bad memory, but there’s a lot of players.

And honestly, most of them have played great.

I’ll mention Kristiāns Rubīns off the top just because he’s been recalled by the Leafs. There’s not one bad part to his game this year. At the beginning of the season, Greg Moore talked about how he could challenge for a top-pairing role, and he has. His play earned him this promotion to the Leafs, and although he might not play, he’s deserved it.

Mac Hollowell has been a similar player. Having played in the league last year, it seems like he’s gotten more of a feel of how players play. His work on both ends of the rink stands out, but he does it all so quietly that no one notices it. I think he’s improved this season.

I’ll mention two more players here, and the first one is Filip Král. He spoke the other day just about the fact that he’s improved so much. Moore also spoke about Král’s play and that he had 28 minutes in a game last week against Laval. He’s improved as a defenceman and I think the Leafs are going to be watching him throughout this season.

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Joseph Duszak is the final defenceman I will talk about. He has five assists in four games. That’s pretty damn good for a defenceman. Similar to Hollowell, you don’t see the work he does as much as other defencemen. Maybe it’s because he’s not always on the top pairing, but he’s been a quietly successful story. I’m very curious to see if he can continue to produce throughout the season.

I do have some questions about the Coca-Cola Coliseum food vendors. First, why is Tim Hortons always closed? Sure, you can still get coffee at one of the vendors, but Tim Hortons’ coffee is much better when it’s not black.

Please bring back Tim Hortons.

To answer the question, I had one media meal and there were these things that had cheese in it, and they were deep-fried. It was sort of like a Mozzarella stick, but the breading around it was different. My god, it was so good.

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Then you have their cookies. Nothing beats those. But please ask me this question when I’ve been able to have more media meals.


That’s all the questions I will answer for today. If there wasn’t one that I answered that you were wondering about, feel free to ask it again when I put out the next mailbag tweet. Make sure to follow my Twitter so you don’t miss the next opportunity to ask a question.

As always, I want to thank everyone for the support on the Toronto Marlies content. It means the world, and I wouldn’t be able to do this without all of you.