This past weekend the Toronto Marlies played back to back games against the Charlotte Checkers. I took in game two of this series and kept my eye on three of the Maple Leafs AHL prospects. Goaltender Kasimir Kaskisuo along with defensemen Timothy Liljegren and Teemu Kivihalme.
Although Kaskisuo did not do well in his one game with the Toronto Maple Leafs this season (6.00 GAA), he is having a decent season with the Maple Leafs AHL affiliate, the Toronto Marlies. So far this season his stats are 2.67 GAA and .912 SV% in 23 games played. Game one this weekend saw the Marlies beat the Checkers 6-2. Kaskisuo allowed two goals on 33 shots for his 12th win of the season. His record this season is 12-7-1.
During the second game against the Checkers, Kaskisuo had to come in and relieve Joseph Woll after Woll gave up 2 goals on 8 shots. Kaskisuo also allowed 2 goals in the 19 shots he faced. He did make some big saves late in the game as the Marlies tried to mount a comeback. They went on to lose the game 4-3. Kaskisuo played a total of 98:31 minutes allowing 4 goals on 52 shots.
Liljegren is one of the Maple Leafs top prospects and he is having a very good season with the Marlies so far. He has 5 goals and 24 assists for 29 points in 37 games. Those stats are all career highs for Liljegren as his development continues to improve. I think the hope within the Maple Leafs organization is that Liljegren will challenge for a roster spot with the Maple Leafs next season. The only other right shooting defenseman the Maple Leafs have signed for next season is Justin Holl.
In the two games against the Checkers this weekend, Liljegren picked up 1 goal and 2 assist for 3 points. He had an even +/- rating of 0 in both games and is only a -2 on the season. Liljegren will have to continue playing his best hockey if hopes to help the Marlies make the playoffs. He currently has 16 points in his last 13 games so he’ll need to continue the hot streak.
This is the first AHL season for Kivihalme since coming over to North America from Finland. He has 3 goals and 9 assists for 12 points in 39 games. Kivihalme had 2 assists in the first game against the Checkers, but was held off the score sheet in the second game. With Rasmus Sandin up playing with the Maple Leafs, Kivihalme is getting some more playing time. The extra playing time has also included time on the power play and Kivihalme picked up one of his assists on the power play.
Kivihalme will be a Restricted free Agent (RFA) this summer. As long as he continues to improve, I don’t see a problem with the Maple Leafs re-signing him. I look forward to watching him continue to develop into one of the Maple Leafs better defensive prospects.
Final Thoughts on These Maple Leafs AHL Prospects
Up to this point the Marlies have been splitting the goaltending duties fairly evenly between Kaskisuo and Woll. I would speculate that Kaskisuo will play the majority of the remaining games due to his better numbers and the Marlies hunting for a playoff spot. I expect Liljegren to continue having a productive season as he will look to build off of this during Maple Leafs training camp next September. Kivihalme is still a work in progress, but I see him being given a bigger role on the Marlies next season to help his development.
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