The Toronto Maple Leafs’ AA affiliate, the ECHL Pensacola Ice Pilots, currently have five Leafs prospects on the roster.
The players got a bit of a late start due to some immigration paperwork issues
to start the season. With their
assignments, and the assignment of players from the Marlies as well as the AHL
Houston Aeros, the team has sufficient talent to be successful, but has had a
rough time in the early going.
Farrish having moved to the Anaheim Mighty Ducks as an assistant coach, the Ice
Pilots have a new head coach this season, Rick Adduono. Coming
off a 51-16-5 record in 2004-05, the team is
just 4-8-1, putting them in last place in the entire league. Team defense is an
issue, giving up a league-high 41.31 shots per game and 4.08 goals per game.
Frustration around the locker room is palpable. Below is a review of the
individual progress of the five Maple Leafs prospects.
David Turon, D
6’3, 202 – 10/4/1983
<font face=”Arial” size=”2″>Turon is playing very good defensive hockey right
now, the best-performing Leafs prospect in Pensacola. He’s a key part of
the penalty kill, blocks shots, and is in good position both on the rush and
defending the cycle. His +3 leads the team. A defensive defenseman, last
season in the ECHL he scored at a .28 point per game pace, but this season is
off to a .50 point per game pace, despite the team scoring at a lower
rate. Turon was called up to the Marlies earlier this season, but did not
Jan Steber, C
6’3, 202 – 10/19/1985
Steber is the youngest of the Leafs prospects in
Pensacola, having just turned 20 in October. This makes him one of the
youngest players in the league as well. The rookie has already improved
during his time in the league, and is second on the team in plus/minus at
+2. The 2004 eighth round pick plays a simple but effective game, making
smart passes and going to the net. Steber is willing to hit and go into traffic.
Chris St. Jacques, C
5’8, 181 – 1/22/1983
St. Jacques is quick and slippery, and willing to
hit. He plays the penalty kill, power play, and is strong on the forecheck. His
defense is sometimes lacking, however, he’ll be in the right place but fail to
eliminate his man. Thought he has sufficient speed, the 22-year-old free
agent signee likely lacks the strength and hands to be a legitimate prospect for
the NHL. St. Jacques has played four games for the Marlies this season as
|St. John’s (AHL)||4||0||0||0||2|
Shaun Landolt, C
6’1, 205 – 10/2/1984
Landolt has been putting in some time on
Pensacola’s penalty kill. While the rookie was in the starting lineup on
Saturday night, the 2003 eighth round pick otherwise has been very quiet, only
on the score sheet once, with one assist in 10 games.
Todd Ford, G
6’4, 176 – 5/1/1984
Ford never had a save percentage over .900 in
four years in junior, but last season he posted a .930 percentage, behind a
strong Ice Pilots team. This year the 2002 third round pick is at .894 in
six games played. Ford is seeing a lot of odd man rushes, as the team
adjusts to the new rule allowing two-line passes. He hasn’t been helping
himself though, committing giveaways to the opposition when he handles the
puck. He’s getting beaten a variety of ways, up high, five-hole, rebounds,
tips in front, by drawing him out of the net. The scheduled visit from the
Leafs goaltending consultant couldn’t come fast enough for this struggling goaltender
who gave up seven goals for a second time in two weeks on Saturday. By
comparison, his partner, 24-year-old Frederic Cloutier, has a similar record at
2-4-1, but with a .913 save percentage.
Copyright 2005 Hockey’s Future. Do not reprint
or otherwise duplicate without permission of the editorial staff.