The Maple Leafs will be an interesting team to watch this season as they continue their youth movement and strive to be anything other than the worst team in the league. Among the rookies set to make their mark this season (and there are many) is Mitch Marner, the much talked about prospect from the London Knights. While it’s been expected for weeks that Marner would stay with the Leafs, GM Lou Lamoriello came out today in Kevin McGran’s article with a decisive stance:
He’s made the team. What we’ve seen of him, offensively and defensively, he’s done very well. We’re not thinking of anything other than how he can help us right now and his commitment to get better.
He’s extremely mature and I’ve been extremely impressed by him. He’ll be given every opportunity.
Lamoriello said that Marner shouldn’t worry about his junior status, or the idea that he may go back after nine games like other top prospects. He’s here to stay, and he’s already impressed his head coach with things other than his offense.
I think he’s been really good. He’s good defensively, way better than I expected. He’s got to learn to work hard in practice. He’ll do that. I haven’t seen him get hit. Why is that? Why does he have the puck all the time? Why when (Marner) gets it, there’s always tons of room? When anyone else gets it, there’s no room. To me it looks like he’s driving the line.
- Also from McGran is the note that veteran Brooks Laich, acquired by the Leafs last year in the Daniel Winnik trade, has not been sent to the AHL despite clearing waivers. With the Leafs still having one cut to make before the deadline at 4:00pm tomorrow, Laich seems the odd man out. McGran does note though that a last-minute injury could open up a spot for him. When “Loophole-Lou” Lamoriello says “We do have a couple of lingering injuries” it often means, ’we’ll find a way to keep everyone’. Don’t be surprised if Josh Leivo, who has been nursing a couple of injuries during camp, is who sits down for a couple of days to start the season.
- Kristin Shilton has some prospect news, as she reports that Adam Brooks, the Leafs’ fourth-round pick from this past draft is headed back to the Regina Pats for the upcoming season. Brooks was the WHL’s leading scorer last season, and actually could have headed to the AHL for this year since he’s already turned 20-years old. Instead, he’ll go back as an over-ager to try and win another scoring title as he continues his development.