TORONTO– The Toronto Marlies will host the Abbotsford Heat and Peoria Rivermen on back-to-back days starting Saturday, so here are some notes heading into the weekend.
After doubling up the Syracuse Crunch 6-3 on Wednesday, the Marlies are the first team in the AHL to hit 20 wins on home ice and their .724 win percentage at the Ricoh is second in the AHL. Unfortunately, away from Toronto the club is only 10-12-4…..Toronto currently leads the North Division with a record of 30-19-6. The Lake Erie Monsters trail by just three points, however the Marlies have five games in hand and could create some serious breathing room as they play the Monsters three times this month…..Unlike last season when the Leafs had to burn three re-calls to get Matt Frattin, Jay Rosehill and Jake Gardiner on the AHL “clear-day list” for playoffs, this year the AHL has altered its rules and its dates so the idea of a clear-day list does not apply. As stated on the AHL website…..
“The AHL’s playoff roster deadline will be Monday, Apr. 22nd, at 3 p.m. ET, by which time all 16 playoff teams must submit to the league a list of playoff-eligible players. Only those players on a team’s playoff eligibility list, plus signed draft choices and players signed to amateur tryout contracts, are eligible to compete in the Calder Cup Playoffs. Players from lower professional leagues can also be added if they played in at least eight games in the AHL and/or a lower league in 2012-13. AHL Clear Day roster restrictions have been removed. Any eligible player on a club’s roster may participate at any time during the remainder of the regular season and the Calder Cup Playoffs. And per National Hockey League rules, only those players who have been recalled from an AHL club following the NHL trade deadline (Wednesday, Apr. 3 at 3 p.m. ET) may be returned to the AHL during the remainder of the season.”
…..Mike Zigomanis and Jamie Devane left Wednesday’s win against Syracuse with injuries. Devane’s was undisclosed while Zigomanis was helped off the ice after taking a hit to the head. Neither has a time table to return, which means Toronto now has six injured forwards, including Tim Connolly, Nicolas Deschamps, Carter Ashton and Will Acton…Drew MacIntyre, who originally joined Toronto on a try-out basis, earned an AHL contract with the club and has quickly turned himself into their most reliable goaltender. He’s 4-1-1 in six starts with 1.46 goals-against average and .943 save percentage and on Wednesday he was putting in his order for new, all-blue Bauer equipment to match the Marlies colors. With so much uncertainty between time this season in the KHL, ECHL and AHL, the vet has worn jet-black pads with red trim, from his time in Russia, the entire year…..Exceeding expectations so far this season is Spencer Abbott. The former Hobey Baker finalist was one of the few rookies that earned his way into the lineup early in the season when the Marlies had an increased roster size and since January he has played on the top line and first power-play unit. He scored two goals against Syracuse and has eight goals and 24 points in 39 games, which is fourth in team scoring behind Ryan Hamilton, Joe Colborne and Gardiner…..Hamilton took over the team scoring lead on Wednesday against the Crunch and now has 40 points in 51 games. Surprisingly, Keith Aucoin was still leading Toronto with 37 points in 34 games, despite being claimed off waivers by the New York Islanders in mid-January. Hamilton has four goals in his last two games and 25 overall, which ties his career high set last season. With 21 regular-season games remaining, the 27-year old has an opportunity to surpass John Pohl’s single-season record of 36 set in 2005-06…..The Moose Jaw Warriors have been eliminated from the WHL playoffs, which means the Leafs top pick from 2013, Morgan Rielly, will play his final WHL game of the season on March 17th. Anytime after that he could join the Marlies roster for a post-season push, and it’s likely that will happen, however the organization won’t confirm it until after Rielly finishes with the Warriors…..In an email from Leafs VP of Hockey Operations, Dave Poulin, there is “nothing new to report” on Gardiner’s return to the big club. Both head coach Dallas Eakins and Gardiner himself say the blue liner is ready to return, but many factors are hindering a set date. While no specific details were given, waivers, continuing to test first-year guys like Korbinian Holzer and Mike Kostka and the fact the Leafs are winning play a factor at this moment in time…..Nazem Kadri’s goal against the Boston Bruins on Thursday extended his point streak to seven games. The longest point streak of his pro career came in 2011-12 when he went eight games with the Marlies.