The first game of the season for the Toronto Marlies ended with a 4-1 win over the Belleville Senators. Both teams proved in the Marlies home opener that even in the American Hockey League (AHL) the Battle of Ontario is strong. Players from both teams didn’t hesitate to mix it up with pushing and shoving after the whistle. Here’s my take on a few of the Toronto Maple Leafs prospects on the Marlies.
Yegor Korshkov looked very good during the home opener. Korshkov opened the scoring for the Marlies at 4:17 in the first period by using his big 6 foot 4 inches frame to his advantage. He was able to push his way to the front of the net and score from the top of the crease. Korshkov had a good training camp with the Maple Leafs in September and could be part of the team’s future. With a combination of both size and skill, Korshkov has the assets that many teams crave.
Kasimir Kaskisuo was near perfect in his first start of the season. The Marlies netminder stopped 30 of 31 shots faced in the 4-1 win. One of the best saves Kaskisuo made during the game was on a Nick Paul penalty shot in the third period. That save less than a minute into the third period kept the score 2-1 for the Marlies. There were a few times when Kaskisuo really showed good positioning on pucks redirected by deflections in close.
Jeremy Bracco was all over the ice on Saturday and finished the game as the first star with three assists. Bracco did not have a good training camp with the Maple Leafs as many expected him to. He needs to use this season to fine tune his game and become a better two way player. His speed and passing ability that helped him finish first in team scoring last season have picked up where he left off. Once he figures out his defensive game, Bracco could be a very important piece in the Maple Leafs future.
Jordan Schmaltz had a good defensive game and did a good job of keeping the Senators away from the Marlies net. Along the boards and in the corners Schmaltz played a good physical game with a few good hits. Schmaltz was acquired from the St. Louis Blues in a trade for Andreas Borgman during the offseason. Being able to add depth at the defense position with a right shooting defenseman was a priority for the Maple Leafs and Schmaltz fills that need.
If these four players can continue to develop in the right direction they could soon see some time in the National Hockey League (NHL). It is safe to say that the Toronto Maple Leafs have a healthy dose of depth at every position for years to come.
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