Marlies enter run for playoff position with roster finally set

AHL club looking for results with trade deadline behind them

Toronto Marlies celebrate goal
Toronto Marlies players (from left to right) Alex Steeves, Curtis Douglas, Kristiāns Rubīns, Bobby McMann and Joseph Duszak celebrating McMann's second goal of the night in a recent win over Chicago. Toronto is now on its run for playoff position. (Photo courtesy of 

Consistency in the Toronto Marlies’ roster after the NHL trade deadline is giving the club a solid shot at a long playoff run, says one of the assistant coaches.

The Toronto Maple Leafs’ AHL affiliate is in the middle of the pack this year with a record of 28-22-4, but has struggled to string together consecutive wins due to the number of roster moves.

Despite losing some key contributors to a trade and injury, A.J. MacLean is now focussed on the remainder of the season.

“You got to move on with what you got,” said MacLean, after a morning skate at the Coca Cola Coliseum on Tuesday. “[Consistency is] something that every coach chases. It’s nice when your roster is more set because you can do that.”

The Marlies won three of their last five games but are shorthanded after dealing defenceman Alex Biega to the Nashville Predators on Monday’s trade deadline.

Biega was an assistant captain and one of the few veterans on a team full of young talent.

“Alex was a huge part of our team, big part of our leadership group,” said Brett Seney, the Marlies leading scorer. “A good buddy of mine, too.”

MacLean, who was filling in for head coach Greg Moore after his wife gave birth on Monday, agreed.

“Any team would love to have him,” said MacLean. “We’re all going to miss him.”

Trade rumors surrounding the defensive duo of Brennan Menell and Joseph Duszak also contributed to an uneasy atmosphere leading up to the deadline.

“It doesn’t matter who you are, where you are in the lineup – it’s a stressful day,” said Seney. “You don’t know what’s going to happen.”

The team has struggled this season with the Maple Leafs’ roster demands, most recently losing their starting goalie Erik Källgren on NHL assignment. An injury to goaltender Joseph Woll further shortened the club’s depth at that position.

But with the trade deadline in the rear-view mirror, there is a renewed sense of security for a lot of players on the team.

“If we’re going to make it far in the playoffs and you’re going to try to compete for a championship, it’s going to be within this room – we don’t have anyone else coming in,” said Seney.

“It’s a steadying feeling, but at the same time, it’s kind of an eye opener where if we’re going to get things done, we [have to] get it going.”

Behind Seney’s offensive production, the Marlies will look to jump up in the standings of the tightly contested North division, where they rank fourth with a couple games in-hand over the leading teams: Utica, Rochester, and Syracuse.

About this article

Posted: Mar 23 2022 3:33 pm
Filed under: Hockey Sports Toronto Marlies