Maple Leafs AHL/ECHL prospects 2009-10 review

By John-Eric Iannicello

The Toronto Marlies had a disappointing season by all standards, finishing 12th in the AHL Western Conference with a 33-35-6-6 record. They were hit with a rash of injuries to key players such as forwards Ryan Hamilton, Alex Foster, Darryl Boyce, defenseman Jonas Frogren and goaltender James Reimer. The Marlies also had a hard time adapting to the departure of scoring forwards Jiri Tlusty (trade with Carolina) and Mike Zigomanis (signed in Europe).

The Marlies finished last in goals scored with 193 and although they weren’t last in goals against, they finished in the bottom five with 261 against. The Marlies leading scorer was 26-year-old Andre Deveaux, who led the team in all offensive categories (16 goals, 25 assists, 41 points) as well as penalty minutes (216).

In the ECHL, the Reading Royals finished second in the East division with a winning record of 37-29-1-5. The Royals are one win away from heading to the Kelly Cup Final for the first time in their franchise history.

Alex Berry, RW, 24

Berry was among the team worst in plus/minus this season, and didn’t add much in the way of offense, only scoring three goals and four assists in 55 games. His physical game was very apparent in the 97 penalty minutes he recorded, including nine fighting majors. Berry also saw spot duty with the Reading Royals and in five games recorded five assists. In the playoffs, Berry has one goals and five assists in 12 games with the Royals.

Richard Greenop, RW, 21

Greenop was one of the few Marlie players who met expectations this year. Brought in for his muscle, Greenop recorded 136 penalty minutes, including a team-high 16 fighting majors. While he was rotated in and out of the lineup throughout the year, Greenop still managed two goals and three assists in 42 games.

Christian Hanson, RW, 24

Hanson’s first AHL season was successful; he was among the team’s most productive forwards with 12 goals and 19 assists for 31 points in 38 games. For his minor-league success, Hanson was awarded various stints with the Maple Leafs, his longest coming after the trade deadline, and was also named to the AHL Planet USA All-Star team. Hanson was unable to translate his offensive ability to the NHL only scoring two goals, and seven points in 31 games.

Greg Scott, RW, 21

Another player who quietly put together a strong rookie season was Scott. The 21-year-old started the season with only three points in his first 18 games and had stints with the Royals, but finished the season with 31 points in 71 which was third best on the Marlies. By season’s end, Scott was a key player in the top six for the Marlies, an example of how a player adapts to the pro game after a slow start. Scott joined the Royals at the end of the year and currently has one goal and eight assists in nine games.

Robert Slaney, LW, 21

Slaney had a very trying season as he split his year with the Marlies and the Royals, but wasn’t able to find his offensive touch on either team. In 34 games with the Marlies, Slaney only managed six assists, and was a team-worst -20. With the Royals he was a bit more productive, scoring one goal and 10 assists in 22 games. Slaney will have to work on his defensive game, as a -20 in only 34 games will not help him carve out a career in the AHL.

Viktor Stalberg, LW, 24

After early success in the preseason, Stalberg suffered a major setback after a hit delivered by Anton Volchenkov left Stalberg with a concussion. Upon his return, Stalberg had trouble finding his offensive touch and was assigned to the Marlies in an effort to find his confidence. In 39 games with the Marlies, Stalberg recorded 12 goals and 21 assists for second in team scoring with 33 points. He joined the Maple Leafs later in the season, and it wasn’t until after the trade deadline when Stalberg started to show positive offensive signs. He finished the year with the Maple Leafs, scoring nine goals and 14 points in 40 games.

Kyle Rogers, RW, 25

Rogers, similar to last season, didn’t offer much in terms of offensive ability to the Marlies, recording five goals and five assists in 67 games. He saw time on energy lines, and while he brings some physicality, it doesn’t offset his inability to produce in other areas.

Stefano Giliati, LW, 22

Giliati had a very productive season with the Royals, finishing fourth in team scoring 23 goals and 32 assists in 46 games. He also had a 25-game chance with the Marlies where he scored three times and assisted on six others. In the playoffs with the Royals, his production has slipped to only four points in 10 games.

Keith Aulie, D, 20

The big 6’5 defender was acquired by the Maple Leafs in the Dion Phaneuf trade on Jan. 31. He was only able to play in five games with the Marlies before he suffered a separated shoulder after on Feb. 12. Prior to joining the Marlies, the AHL rookie suited up for 43 games with the Abbotsford Heat, scoring twice and assisting on four others. He also had 32 penalty minutes, including two fighting majors.

Juraj Mikus, D, 21

Lost in the shuffle, Mikus had a very promising season from a statistical standpoint with the Marlies. As a rookie defender both to the AHL and North America, Mikus was the team leader in defensive scoring with five goals and 18 assists in 68 games. He was a fixture on the Marlies power play, scoring three goals, and provided strong puck-moving ability from the back end. His 122 shots were second on the team, an impressive feat for a defender. He battled a few minor injuries at points in the season, but was one of the few players who played over 65 games for the Marlies this year.

Phil Oreskovic, D, 23

Continuing on success of the past few seasons, Oreskovic’s game didn’t deviate from his norm. Again he hit double digits in penalty minutes with 142, and didn’t provide much in the way of offensive ability with only two goals and nine points in 74 games. Oreskovic was also among the team leaders in fighting majors with 16 on the year. Unlike last season though, Oreskovic did not get a chance to suit up with the Maple Leafs at the end of the season.

James Reimer, G, 22

Had Reimer not been injured for a large chunk of the season, the Marlies fate may have been different. Reimer was a standout for the Marlies, and while he only participated in 26 games, his stats were among the best in the league. He had a .925 save percentage, 2.25 goals against average, and a winning record of 14-8-4-2. He split time through the year with journeyman Joey MacDonald, who was traded to the Anaheim Ducks at the trade deadline.