Toronto Marlies move on to playoff push without Alex Biega

AHL club hopes to establish consistency through final stretch

Toronto Marlies practice
Toronto Marlies players line up on the ice as they get up some practice shots during their morning skate. They were on the ice for the first time since the NHL trade deadline. (Michael Cruz photo) 

Toronto Marlies held their morning skate Tuesday and it was the first time Alex Biega was not in the lineup.

The Toronto Maple Leafs dealt the veteran defenceman to the Nashville Predators in exchange for future considerations right before Monday’s 3 p.m. trade deadline.

Biega, who holds a two-way contract, played 31 games with the Maple Leafs’ American Hockey League affiliate, and served as one of the assistant captains.

Marlies assistant coach A.J. MacLean spoke highly about what the 33-year-old, who is now headed to Nashville’s AHL affiliate, the Milwaukee Admirals, meant to the Marlies this season.

“He’s a really good person,” MacLean said, in a scrum after Tuesday’s game-day skate. “First and foremost, he comes to the rink early in the morning. He’s always got a smile on his face. On the ice, he’s a competitor whether he’s in practice or in games.”

The coach added Biega was “well-liked” and that any team would like to have someone like him.

Marlies centre Brett Seney echoed similar thoughts, describing Biega as his good buddy and an integral part of the team.   

Being a fourth year pro, Seney is aware of how trade season can affect the squad. This is where the value of team captain Rich Clune comes in.

“I think today, a guy like Rich Clune brings the group together and settles guys down, especially for young guys in their first year … not accustomed to seeing guys get traded like that,” the 26-year-old said. “It’s more or less, just kind of, going internal and find a way to kind of fill that void.”

As for MacLean, he knows hockey is a business and said they will just need to move on with who they have.

Toronto is currently in the hunt for a playoff spot as it competes in a tight North Division. MacLean stressed the importance of consistency as the Marlies head toward this final stretch of the regular season.

“Whether it’s in your individual play and effort, whether it’s within the team construct with how we ideally would like you to play,” he said. “It’s just mainly that.

“As we gear up towards a playoff run or that playoff push, you want to just become a more consistent team in all areas of your game.”

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Posted: Mar 22 2022 9:49 pm
Filed under: Hockey Sports Toronto Marlies