As the Toronto Maple Leafs get ready for the regular season, there will likely be several spaces on their roster to fill. At least, that’s what Maple Leafs’ general manager Kyle Dubas promised. At the end of last season, Dubas invited some of the Toronto Marlies players together to talk about the fact that there would be jobs on the big club’s roster.
And, that makes perfect financial sense. With the team’s salary-cap issues, inexpensive contracts will be valued. Which of the Toronto Marlies players will get the first chance to be part of the Maple Leafs roster out of the training camp?
A Number of Players Seem to Be Ready
A number of Marlies’ players seem ready for possible prime-time action. My first guess is that the Maple Leafs will offer Nick Robertson an excellent chance to make the team. He’s been knocking at the door for a couple of years but went door to injuries. Is he injury-prone, or was he simply unlucky?
As some interesting youngsters hadho had some time with the big club. A couple of these players include Alex Steeves, Nick Abruzzese, Bobby McMann, and Pontus Holmberg (who I wrote about in a previous post.
What About Curtis Douglas?
About Curtis Douglas, who doesn’t want to see him play? He’s one of the most intriguing players in the Maple Leafs’ organization. Specifically, the organization seems filled with smaller players. But Douglas is completely different. He’s a 6-foot-8 and 238-pound physical force.
Compared to his teammates, Douglas is a giant. When Douglas plays his first shift in the NHL, he’ll be the biggest forward ever to play in the NHL. Intriguing, right? But, is he a good player?
The Toronto Marlies signed 21-year-old centre Curtis Douglas to a two-year AHL contract with the team. Douglas played with the Belleville Senators after being an unsigned draft pick out of the OHL. Douglas was originally a fourth-round pick of the Dallas Stars in 2018.
During his 2021-22 season in the AHL, he started on the Toronto Marlies’ fourth line but got better as the season went along. Douglas ended the season by scoring 34 points in the 67 games he played. He’ll be a player to watch as the next season goes on.
Douglas Is Beginning to Show Up on People’s Radar
Watching the Marlies play makes it difficult not to notice Douglas every time he’s on the ice. You notice that he moves pretty well for a big man. Douglas wins puck battles at the boards, creates nice shots in close, and moves rebounds to teammates for goals.
Overall, Douglas started slowly, but he’s becoming more impressive. He’s grown in terms of his play and he’s beginning to adapt to the higher levels. He’s becoming a better athlete who’s also starting to apply his knowledge in on-ice situations.
Several things are beginning to add up in his favor, other than just his size. He’s competitive, his penalty-killing skills are improving, and he’s even becoming more adept at face-offs.
In short, he’s beginning to do a lot of things much better. The question is, can he do them well enough to make the Maple Leafs’ roster? If he can, that would be a coup for the team and the organization.