With three scrimmages in three days the Toronto Maple Leafs and their 79 invitees will leave behind the inter-squad games, and move towards the REAL preseason games.
Most likely several cuts will come later today (updates as they happen), and not all bodies will make it on the roster moving forward in this training camp.
With a Toronto Maple Leafs provided stream, it was a great opportunity to watch players start to mesh as a team and players that just did not belong at this level.
Will do a quick run down on who I believe stood out this weekend, (no particular order)
- Connor Carrick. Solid season with the Marlies after being acquired by the Leafs organization. Moves the puck well, sees the ice and has an accurate shot that seems to get on net more often than it misses. Expect to see a significant amount of time on the Leafs blueline this season.
- Andrew Nielsen. Continued strong play from Rookie Tourney in London. Heavy shot from the point and can distribute the puck during the powerplay. Good size and his offensive game seems to be trending in the right direction.
- Kasimir Kaskisuo. Finnish goalie who will make a push (along with Jeff Glass) to get time with the Marlies between the pipes. 6’3 200 pounds who fills the net and is positionally sound. Follows up strong game with a few soft goals but also somebody to keep an eye on.
- Mitchell Marner. Please give this kid some talent to work with ! Great zone entries, solid passing and his shot will surprise. Sniped a beauty of a shootout goal in Game #1 after bobbling the puck. Works both ends of the ice. Bring on the next step for him.
- William Nylander. Looks really good in the middle of the rink. I know many believe he should play the wing, I love him as a C.
- Martins Dzierkals. Little energizer bunny with skills to go with that ever churning engine. Good vision, excellent on the forecheck. Turning heads a bit in my opinion.
- Connor Brown. See above in regards to tireless effort. Always around the puck, needs a few greasy ones to go in for him in order to gain more self-confidence.
- Fredrik Gauthier. Moving much better than he did a year ago. Where this extra stride came from, I am unsure but it could be the weight loss and gym work in the summer. Expect to be with Marlies again but impressed with growth.
- Dmytro Timashov. Works hard along the boards but distributes the puck at a NHL level already. Learning that time and space isn’t the same at the Professional level but he is learning.
- Jeremy Bracco. Loved what I saw from him in Kitchener last year. Has skill and then some when it comes to having the puck. Play away from the puck seems to have improved and his skating also seems to be better. Similar sized wingers within the organization may make him a chip to move but would not give up on this kid too early.
So there you have my young standouts from the first weekend of training camp.
Who did I miss? Bring on the games !!!