Category: Toronto Marlies

Jeff Veillette
Jeff Veillette@jeff

November 15, 2018

Why a Gudbranson for Nylander deal makes sense for both sides 

Look, I didn’t want it to come to this either. It’s been a wacky and wild few months, with all sorts of uncertainties surrounding the team and all sorts of speculation, and I’ve been pretty adamant that that desperation is no way to solve a tense situation.

But I’m at my wit’s end. Something has to give, and a move needs to be made. I’m sure that Kyle Dubas, Laurence Gilman, and the rest of the management team in Toronto have come to the same conclusion. It’s time to pull the trigger on a Nylander deal. Continue Reading…

November 15, 2018 49 views 0
  • stamerfan517

    November 15, 2018 Log in to Reply

    this is some of your best work.

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Jeff Veillette
Jeff Veillette@jeff

November 12, 2018

Timothy Liljegren is still a prospect worth being excited for 

The reports of Timothy Liljegren’s death as a top-end prospect are greatly exaggerated.

Much has been made of the 2017 first-round draft pick’s long-term aspirations in the last few weeks, for a variety of different reasons. Many are hoping for a year of domination out of the Swedish defencemen, and the fact that fellow teenaged countryman Rasmus Sandin had a strong training camp and first few AHL games creates some competition for him as well. Despite the fact that the two play on different sides of the point, everyone loves comparative drama, and this appears to be the newest one of those situations in the public eye.

It hasn’t helped that the youngster has a risk-reward element to his game and that players of that archetype tend to get their share of heat in this market – especially when it comes to defencemen. Sure enough, Liljegren has had his moments of iffy reads and bobbled pucks, and many have taken that to be a sign of overall struggle and a potential warning sign for his future.

Here are a few reasons why I wouldn’t worry too much about the aforementioned noise: Continue Reading…

November 12, 2018 49 views 0
Jeff Veillette
Jeff Veillette@jeff

November 2, 2018

Where the Marlies stand heading into the Winter Fair 

Tonight, the Toronto Marlies will play their tenth game of the 2018/19 regular season, as they take on the Cleveland Monsters at Quicken Loans Arena. Not only does that put them into double-digit territory, but it also kicks off one of their two traditional multi-week road trips of the season.

Why exactly do the Marlies evacuate their rink at the end of October, only to re-appear in the final days of the following month? As it turns out, Coca-Cola Coliseum is still City of Toronto property and part of the CNE. This means that when the Royal Winter Fair comes around, they get to use the rink for the multi-week event – usually replacing the ice with dirt and the Marlies with horses. As such, the Marlies use the time to knock a bunch of games off their road schedule.

This year, the break is easier than its ever been; tomorrow’s game in Cleveland, three games in Belleville, and one in Laval before returning home on the 17th. The chain of bus rides has been cut down severely, the total games have dropped from 8-9 to just five, and the team will most likely be able to spend most of their next 17 days in their own homes.

All the same, it’s still traditionally a bookmarking point in the season, so it’s worth looking at where they stand up to this point.

Heading into tonight, Toronto carries a 4-4-0-1 record, good for fourth in the North Division by points and a tie for third in points percentage. The great thing about this trip is that it’ll allow them to pick up some ground; three games against Belleville give them the chance to leapfrog them, and a four-point gap between themselves and Cleveland can be shrunk before the weekend hits.

Toronto achieved its record in a way it likely could have preferred to avoid; after a 7-3 season opener against Utica on October 5th, the team dropped the next five games against Binghamton, Cleveland, Rochester, and two more against the Comets. Since then, though, the team has caught a grip, winning their last three games by a combined score of 9-4.

Part of that comes from a steadying of goaltending, which as you can see above, has been a concern. Their full-season save percentage of 0.882 was even worse two and a half weeks ago and is still way below what they’d like it to be (by comparison, last year’s team got a historical 0.929 effort out of Garret Sparks and Calvin Pickard). Jeff Glass has started to settle in, and the team has in front of him as well. Limiting volume against is likely a goal, but I doubt they’ll want to change much on the other side of the ice; the team is near the top of the league in goal and shot generation, even as the Leafs have taken away quite a few of the team’s top ice-tilters both up front (Kasperi Kapanen, Andreas Johnsson, Frederik Gauthier), and on the Blue Line (Travis Dermott, Martin Marincin and Justin Holl).

Speaking of tilting the ice, Toronto has done that in a way that you’d expect a progressively-run, modern AHL team to do. Through the nine games, the Marlies have posted a 54.8% Corsi-For Percentage, attempting 401 shots in 5-on-5 situations while conceding 331. Unfortunately, I don’t have a reference point for where that stands with the rest of the league, as I’m tracking that data myself, but from a general standpoint, 55% is a very good mark for a team to be standing at. Notably, it’s not just a matter of score effects; the team took 60.2% of the shot attempts over their three-game winning streak over Hartford, Laval, and Syracuse.

Toronto’s efforts stretch beyond just the total package, though. There are a bevvy of players, all simultaneously working towards many goals. Not only are they trying to win hockey games, but they’re also trying to improve themselves and win the eyes of the league above, as they chase dreams of making to, or returning to, the National Hockey League. Some pathways are different than others, involve more stops on the journey, or more elements to to be taught. Here is an update on where everyone stands in the early goings of this season: Continue Reading…

November 2, 2018 50 views 0
Jeff Veillette
Jeff Veillette@jeff

October 21, 2018

Marlies Split Weekend, Snap Losing Skid 

Losing streaks don’t come often for the Toronto Marlies, but when they do, they’re usually an early-season precursor to the team figuring themselves out and getting back to their usual business. We’ll find out soon enough whether this is similar to those initial stumbles in 2014/15 and 2016/17, but for now, Toronto will settle for ending a five-game losing skid on Saturday afternoon, hours after not being able to cap off a rally in Rochester.

The Highlights

Here’s Friday:

Here’s Saturday:

The Lines

Here’s Friday:

Carl Grundstrom – Chris Mueller – Sam Gagner
Dmytro Timashov – Adam Cracknell – Jeremy Bracco
Pierre Engvall – Josh Jooris – Trevor Moore
Mason Marchment – Colin Greening – Griffen Molino

Calle Rosen – Timothy Liljegren
Andreas Borgman – Vincent LoVerde
Andrew Nielsen – Jordan Subban

Jeff Glass
Eamon McAdam

Here’s Saturday:

Carl Grundstrom – Chris Mueller – Sam Gagner
Dmytro Timashov – Adam Cracknell – Jeremy Bracco
Mason Marchment – Josh Jooris – Trevor Moore
Griffen Molino – Colin Greening – JJ Piccinch

Calle Rosen – Timothy Liljegren
Andreas Borgman – Vincent LoVerde
Sam Jardine – Jordan Subban

Jeff Glass

Powerplay 1: Gagner – Mueller – Grundstrom – Timashov – Liljegren
Powerplay 2: Marchment – Cracknell – Moore – Bracco – Subban
Penalty Kill Forwards: Greening, Jooris, Moore, Cracknell, Molino, Timashov
Penalty Kill Defencemen: Rosen, Liljegren, Borgman, LoVerde

The Notes

  • Chris Mueller returned from an injury suffered the previous week, and his presence was evident from the get-go. Besides the pair of assists he picked up on the weekend, the coaching staff tends to not be shy about using certain centremen in specific situations, and what comes with getting your top threat at the dot back is more situations where you can send out your top line, either to grab a goal or tire out/distract the best players on the opposing team. That much became evident as Saturday’s game progressed, in particular.
  • Also returning to the lineup is a player that the team has been missing the entire season to date in Mason Marchment. If you told me two years ago that I’d be telling you that this team missed his presence, I’d probably laugh, but the strides he’s made to become a valuable, versatile displacement player are nothing short of spectacular. Sure enough, Marchment left the weekend with an assist and a 78% share of the shot attempts while he was on the ice.
  • Marchment played his first game on the fourth line with Colin Greening and Griffen Molino, but was moved up with Josh Jooris and Trevor Moore, the latter of whom was his linemate along with the injured Adam Brooks throughout the Calder Cup playoffs. Said Sheldon Keefe of the reuniting: “We didn’t use Marchment with Moore yesterday and it was because we were kind of taking it slow with Marchment with no exhibition or anything like that. He was outstanding yesterday in the game, so we thought that shuffling things a little bit today, getting him more involved and then reuniting him with Moore, could help kind of kick-start us. That was the case, but both of those players, I think no matter where we put them in the lineup right now they’re just confident and their experience through last season has really put them in a good place coming into this season.”
  • A player who was going to get the opposite treatment on Saturday was Jeremy Bracco, who seemingly ended up a magnet to shots against versus the Amerks. The original plan was for him to slide down to the fourth line, but Pierre Engvall took warmups and didn’t feel comfortable with playing due to some wear and tear from the night before. Bracco stayed on the second line with Dmytro Timashov and Adam Cracknell as a result.
  • Sam Jardine took Andrew Nielsen’s place in the lineup on Saturday, drawing into the lineup for the first time this year while Andrew drew out for his first time. Jardine was very sparingly used – not at all on specials, and rarely at evens unless the team needed someone to catch their breath. That wasn’t completely shocking given his role, and he was good enough to get the job given to him done.
  • Jeff Glass stopped 56 of 62 shots this weekend, which I suppose is fine for a goaltender who is in the position he is now due to some severely extenuating circumstances. If nothing else, it’s an improvement from his first three starts; the Marlies will hope that progression continues for the 33-year-old, who they’ll need steady starts from while Kasimir Kaskisuo recovers from his injury.
  • Toronto’s next game is on Tuesday night against Laval, at Coca-Cola Coliseum. Puck drop is at 7 PM.

Underlying Numbers

Manually tracked data will only appear if you have a Faceoff Circle Subscription.

Continue Reading…

October 21, 2018 39 views 0
Jeff Veillette
Jeff Veillette@jeff

October 6, 2018

Marlies open season with blowout victory over Comets 

Tonight was the Toronto Marlies’ first step in defending the Calder Cup. Well, sort of – only nine of the team’s twenty skaters and goalies tonight were among the group that played in that franchise-defining Game 7 against the Texas Stars a year ago. All the same, it’s their trophy to try to hold onto, and their careers to try to further, and they started that push with a bang, defeating the Utica Comets by a score of 7-3. Continue Reading…

October 6, 2018 48 views 0
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