Glad Christmas to all those that learn The Hockey Writers. On this Christmas Day put up, I’ll have a look again on the previous week in a number of key areas. First, I’ll share that prospect Fraser Minten has been named captain of Crew Canada’s World Junior staff. Second, I’ll share information of a connection I simply realized about on the weekend. That’s the shut friendship between goalie Martin Jones and Maple Leafs defenseman Morgan Rielly. Each are Vancouver natives and have identified one another for a very long time.
Associated: Eradicating the Maple Leafs From the Cup – Some Private Ideas
Lastly, I’ll share about how the American Hockey League (AHL) Toronto Marlies did of their two video games simply earlier than Christmas and observe a few of the key gamers. A shock amongst them is Kyle Clifford, who’s nonetheless going sturdy.
Merchandise 1: Fraser Minten Named Captain of Crew Canada
Fraser Minten, the Maple Leafs prospect who was just lately traded from the Kamloops Blazers to the Saskatoon Blades, was named the captain for Canada’s 2024 World Junior Championship, Hockey Canada introduced. Minten, who performed the primary 4 video games of the present NHL season with Toronto, was drafted within the second spherical within the 2022 NHL Entry Draft. Owen Beck (Montreal Canadiens), Maveric Lamoureux (Arizona Coyotes), Matthew Poitras (Boston Bruins), and Matthew Savoie (Buffalo Sabres) have been named alternate captains.
Of these 5 gamers, Lamoureux is the one one amongst them who has but to play an NHL recreation. Minten was beforehand the captain of the Kamloops staff earlier than he was traded. He put up a robust pre-tournament displaying with Crew Canada, scoring three targets and 5 factors in three contests.
Being named captain is a good honor for Minten, who’s representing Canada internationally for the primary time. For Toronto followers, it exhibits the respect that the teen garners wherever he may go within the hockey world. Congratulations to him and good luck in match play.
Merchandise 2: Morgan Rielly and Martin Jones Are Nice Mates
It’s exceptional that Martin Jones, who was initially delivered to the staff as goalie “insurance coverage,” has now turn out to be a key participant within the staff’s success this season. As Elliotte Friedman famous through the Hockey Night time in Canada telecast on the weekend, when Jones was signed, the contract had a “intelligent bonus technique” – a $100,000 incentive – that created a singular state of affairs for any staff trying to declare him off waivers. [See the video below as Friedman explains the situation.]
Happily, for the Maple Leafs, Jones did clear waivers. Now, with Joseph Woll sidelined and Ilya Samsonov struggling, Jones has emerged as an enormous asset for the staff throughout this important stretch of the season. Curiously, Jones’ worth additionally carries a little bit of an intangible profit. That’s the camaraderie that comes from his sturdy friendship with Rielly. They’ve identified one another since their youth hockey days in Vancouver, British Columbia. They typically labored out collectively in the summertime, which additionally undoubtedly contributed to each gamers’ success.
Associated: Prime 10 Finest Ice Hockey Leagues
Newest Information & Highlights
It’s additionally attention-grabbing how Maple Leafs’ participant relationships can journey far again in historical past to when these gamers had been youngsters skating collectively within the North Vancouver space. Particularly, Jones’ signing introduced collectively two associates from their North Shore and Hollyburn skating days as children.
[Maple Leafs fans from British Columbia, and there are some of us, might know that the North Shore generally refers to the northern shore of Burrard Inlet in the Vancouver metropolitan area. It includes the cities of North Vancouver and West Vancouver. Hollyburn is an area located in West Vancouver, which is also a part of the North Shore region.]
I’m at all times, but by no means, actually shocked after I hear tales like this concerning the familiarity and friendships which have been constructed alongside the best way amongst NHL groups. I don’t doubt that this makes the reunion within the Blue & White particular for each gamers this season in Toronto.
Merchandise 3: Reviewing the Toronto Marlies’ Pre-Christmas Video games
The American Hockey League (AHL) Toronto Marlies had every week of combined outcomes of their current video games earlier than the Christmas break. In a dominating efficiency towards the Windfall Bruins, the Marlies gained a convincing 7-3 victory. Regardless of being outshot within the first interval, as soon as once more goalie Dennis Hildeby saved the Marlies within the recreation. The staff’s offense got here alive within the second and third durations, with key contributions from gamers like Kieffer Bellows, Logan Shaw, and Max Lajoie. That recreation pushed the Marlies’ profitable streak to 5 video games.
Associated: Right this moment in Hockey Historical past: Dec. 24 & 25
Nonetheless, the streak hit a snag through the Marlies’ recreation towards the Belleville Senators, when the staff misplaced a detailed recreation by a rating of 4-3. Defensive lapses, together with targets conceded within the ultimate minute of a interval and instantly after scoring, proved expensive for the Marlies. Regardless of sturdy video games from Clifford and (as soon as once more) Bellows, the Senators managed to win by scoring a late purpose. So far as the standings go, the Marlies are in a strong place within the North Division.
Over the previous week, a number of Marlies gamers confirmed excellent performances. These embody each Clifford and Bellows, every of whom scored two targets and added an help. Defenseman Max Lajoie, who had returned from the Maple Leafs, added a purpose and two assists to his statistics. Alex Steeves, with an help within the Windfall recreation, prolonged his AHL level streak to 16 video games.
Maple Leafs followers will recall that Clifford got here to the Maple Leafs from the Los Angeles Kings within the Jack Campbell commerce. He’s nonetheless going sturdy with the Marlies. For followers who don’t take note of the Marlies, I encourage followers to be careful for Bellows. He was signed by the Marlies to a PTO (skilled tryout supply) and has been enjoying lights out with the AHL staff with 10 targets and eight assists (for 18 factors) in 18 video games with the Marlies. I’ve a sense he might be with the Maple Leafs full-time subsequent season.
For the primary time this season, AHL goalie Hildeby confronted some challenges over the 2 video games final week when he allowed seven targets on 62 photographs. His goals-against common rose above two for the primary time this season and now stands at 2.08 On the similar time, his save proportion dipped to 0.921.
What’s Subsequent for the Maple Leafs?
Because the Maple Leafs head into the subsequent a part of their season within the New Yr, they’re well-positioned. Nonetheless, the one large downside the staff faces is within the crease. If the Samsonov state of affairs improves, the staff will probably be sitting properly within the standings transferring ahead and into the postseason.
Associated: 7 Cool Issues About Jarome Iginla: Calgary Flames Corridor of Famer
Even when Samsonvov can’t discover his kind from final season, it is likely to be that when Woll returns their goalie state of affairs is robust sufficient to hold them into the playoffs. Wouldn’t it’s humorous (in a great way) if the tandem of Woll and Jones may simply be sufficient this season?