The Toronto Maple Leafs joined up with a new ECHL affiliate for the 2004-05
season, the Pensacola Ice Pilots. The team, previously affiliated with the
Tampa Bay Lightning, welcomed not only the new affiliate this season, but also a
new coach, as Dave Farrish moved to Pensacola from the Louisiana IceGators.
The Ice Pilots lead the 28-team league with a
30-11-4 record and have one of the youngest line-ups in the league this season,
with the average age currently at 23. Coach Farrish has been pleased with the
progress the Maple Leafs prospects have made over the course of the season.
“They’ve all really come along very
well,” he said Saturday night preparing for the match-up against the
Gwinnett Gladiators. “They’ve all been very good students, good listeners,
and have bought into our systems, played very unselfishly. We’ve created a very
good team atmosphere and they’re all a big part of that.”
Below is a look at how each of the Toronto Maple
Leaf prospects are faring.
David Turon, D is in his second year as professional in North America, after playing one
year in the WHL. The 6’3, 200-pound Czech defenseman played 42 games for
affiliate Memphis of the CHL last season as well as 11 games for the St. John’s Maple Leafs.
This season the 21-year-old Turon has been paired with 25-year-old Ryan O’Keefe
and sees time on the power play. He has 11 points, plays a simple game and
is +6. Turon was a fourth round pick of the Maple Leafs in 2002.
said of Turon, “He’s a young offensive defenseman who’s got some
exceptional skill. Real good skater, great shooter. A young kid who
needs to work on some defensive parts of his game, but he’s got a pretty good
Scott May, C is a 23-year-old rookie out
of Ohio State University. The 5’11 195-pound center was a 7th round
selection of the Maple Leafs in 2002. After putting up only one point at
St. John’s in 16 games, May was assigned to the Ice Pilots on Jan. 15th.
He’s scoring at a point a game pace in Pensacola on a line with Alex Materukhin
and Jordan Krestanovich. He has some offensive skill and also pays
attention to his own end, coming back deep to help the defensemen.
another late addition that we just got down, and he’s instantly brought us some
offense,” Farrish said. “He’s a very creative offensive
centerman/right winger who can play both positions. Good skater, good playmaker
type of guy, but can score goals too.”
Chris St. Jacques, C was the top scorer on the Medicine Hat Tigers last
season with 92 points in 64 games. The 5’8, 181-pound rookie plays a feisty game.
The 22-year-old was a free agent signee of the Maple Leafs this summer. He is
playing on a line with Cam Keith and in penalty-killing situations. A willing
hitter, his size limits his effectiveness.
said of St. Jacques, “He’s a real good skater, a small guy, kind of a
fireplug type of a player, likes to hit guys and is all over the ice. But
also he has good offensive skill, he’s scored some big goals for us this
year. A promising young player.”
Cam Keith, LW is a 6’3, 225-pound rookie out of the University of Alaska-Fairbanks.
In his last season in college, the left winger had 26 points in 36 games. He also played four games for Hartford of the AHL
in 2003-04. The 24-year-old free agent signee is playing limited minutes on a
checking line with Chris St. Jacques and Nick Lindberg or Bill Kinkel.
a big strong powerful forward, his part of the game is just going to the net
hard, using his size and strength to get to the front of the net,” Farrish
described. “He’s got good soft hands for a big guy, also doesn’t mind
the physical play, and has scored some big goals for us as well.”
Currently with St. John’s
Todd Ford, G spent four years in the WHL with Swift Current, Prince George and
Vancouver, putting up less than stellar numbers. This season has been an
exceptional one for the 20-year-old, putting up a 2.05 GAA, a .936 save
percentage, representing the Ice Pilots in the ECHL All-Star game and winning
the rookie of the month for December. He was recalled to the St. John’s
Maple Leafs recently, but has yet to play a game. The 6’4 goaltender was a former third round pick of the Leafs in 2002.
done very well for a young goaltender coming out of junior,” Farrish
said. “He had a pretty good training camp in St. John’s and then came
to us early in the season. We thought we’d bring him along slowly and really
introduce him to the league at a slow pace, and he’s had a good mentor in
Frederic Cloutier. He’s learned a lot of things in preparation and those
type of things from him. He’s really advanced at a great rate, he’s been a
very solid goaltender for us and played some outstanding games.
why Ford’s numbers might be dramatically better this year, Farrish said,
“Well, he’s got a good team in front of him. We’re in first place so
we’ve got a good team in front of him which certainly makes the goaltender’s job easier, but not to take anything away from him, because he’s done a very good
job. When he’s been faced with quality scoring chances, he’s been answering the
bell real well.”
Dominic D’Amour, D, another rookie, spent 12 games with the Ice Pilots
before being recalled to the St. John’s Maple Leafs. The 6’3 220-pound
defender had an impressive 53 points and 211 penalty minutes in 61 games with the Gatineau Olympiques last season. He’s a player opponents hate to play against.
The 21-year-old D’Amour was a third round pick of the Maple Leafs in 2002.
a big, strong kid with some good offensive instincts,” Farrish said.
“He’s kind of a power play guy, but also very tough. He had a couple
hundred minutes in penalties last year in the Quebec League and had a couple
real good fights earlier this year. But he can also play excellent
offensively. He just needs a little experience I think to get himself to
the next level, maybe get a little bit better defensively in his own zone. He
certainly has the tools to move up.”
Tyson Marsh, D started the season with the
St. John’s Maple Leafs, then was assigned to the Ice Pilots on Dec. 2, 2004. The
6’2, 210-pound 20-year-old rookie played 11 games with Pensacola, then was
recalled back to St. John’s.
“Didn’t get a chance to see much of him, was
only here for like three weeks then was recalled and broke his hand up
there,” Farrish explained. “But I like his energy, a real physical
player, plays with his heart on his sleeve. He’s good in all situations,
he’s a good two-way defenseman with some good size and speed and I think he’s
going to be a good contributor.”
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