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The Toronto Marlies prospect myth

Who knows?  NHL hockey may actually return, if egos can be set aside long enough to sign a deal.  In the interim, in case you haven't visited for a while and  missed these recent VLM posts...

  • The day Sylvain Lefebvre, a solid ex-Leaf, was traded in the summer of '94, and why it hurt losing him more than Wendel Clark
  • Former Montreal great Jean Beliveau and his thoughts on the lockout


It’s a lot of fun to watch the Toronto Marlies whenever I get the chance.   They are a well-coached, well-prepared team under Dallas Eakins.  This season in particular—in the wake of the NHL lockout—a number of NHL teams have stuffed a ton of NHL-caliber players “down on the farm”.  Oklahoma City  (the Oiler farm club) and the Marlies are but two examples of AHL teams with better-than-usual rosters.

The Marlies are at the top of the chain so far this season in the American Hockey League, sitting in first place in their Conference as I write this.  In fact, they have too many guys on their roster and when healthy, they have to sit good players most nights. We’ve discussed here in the past that as Leaf enthusiasts, we often strain mightily to project solid NHL futures for many of the “assets” and “prospects” that Burke has acquired over the past four years.  While there is certainly reason for hope, given the skill set of a number of Marlie/Leaf hopefuls, I still can’t shed a nagging sense that maybe, just maybe, there aren’t quite as many future NHL’ers in the “system” as we would like to think.

I know Leaf fans don’t like to hear it, but it is the truth:  virtually every NHL team has some nice-looking prospects in their minor-league system, or playing junior hockey.  Whether enough make it—and play at a high or at least useful level in the NHL sooner than later—is the real question.

As I posted here recently, Gardiner, Kadri and Frattin are already, in my mind, NHL’ers.  They have been around far too long to be simply “prospects”.  Kadri was drafted in the summer of 2009, Gardiner has played a full season in the NHL and Frattin soon turns 25.  These guys are far from kids, though there is no question they have plenty of time and room to develop and get a lot better.  That part is the good news.

But beyond that obvious trio, who from the Marlies do you think will set the world on fire when they get to the big club—if they even get there?

People speak glowingly these days of Kostka and Ranger and sure, I don’t doubt they could be on an NHL roster.  But are they appreciably better than what we have now? Phaneuf, Gardiner and Gunnarsson surely have permanent top-four spots here (barring a Gunnarsson trade).  Leaf fans are enjoying the “who do we buy out debate?” between Liles and Komisarek but I still ask, what will Kostka, Ranger, Fraser, Holzer or Blacker, for that matter, provide that we don’t already have on the big club—at least that won’t be offset by the flaws and limitations that the promoted Marlies defensemen would bring with them?

Up front, are we still really expecting Colborne to emerge?  I know the injury story is a “reason” for his slow development here, but are we wishing more than being realistic?  Abbott, Ashton, D’Amigo, DeVane, Ross, Scott and McKegg are all nice young players who bring good traits at times.  Some show tenacity, a bit of grit, speed, a nice shot, whatever.  But do you honestly project them as more than replaceable third or fourth line players at the NHL level?  Myself, I like Greg Scott a lot, for example, but would he provide any more than, say, Joey Crabb did in recent times with the Leafs on some pretty mediocre squads?

I know that people say, but wait, the real high-end prospects are still in junior hockey—you know, Rielly, Finn, Percy, etc..  While there is little doubt Rielly is a supremely talented young player, we need a lot more where that came from.  To compete with the best teams in the NHL, we need a lot more quality depth than we have right now. You know, legitimate big-time players who will excel at key moments in huge games.  Who can do that for us right now?

Rielly, in my view, is not NHL-ready at this point, something I’ve said here for some time.  I was shocked, as I wrote at the time, that Burke even suggested a few weeks ago that Rielly would be given a shot to make the Leaf roster during a shortened training camp if we ever do have an NHL season.  That struck—and strikes—me as a very bad idea, for a host of reasons.  I’ve seen many uber-talented Leaf defenseman “rushed” through the years, from Jim Benning to Al Iafrate, and it rarely works. Enjoy the promise that Rielly shows, for sure, but let’s not rely on one young player to save our bacon.

But that debate aside, I just don’t see where that next “big thing” is coming from.  Rielly will be a good player, but will be really be the superstar that so many Leaf fans are gleefully projecting he will be?  We’ll see.

I’m not a big fan of hoping for no season and then some kind of miracle lottery win so the Leafs can draft a really good player in the summer of 2013 when the pickings are supposed to be pretty good.  That’s simply not the ideal way to “plan” when building a competitive hockey team.  It worked for Pittsburgh (Crosby), but they also bottom-fed for years and made some smart, shrewd moves to go along with “winning a lottery”.

Komarov should help when he arrives, a solid, old-school, agitator type.  But I ask again:  where does the influx of true excellence come from to ignite this Maple Leaf team?  The current “lockout” roster looks remarkably like the one that missed the playoffs on the heels of a massive nosedive last season.  Add van Riemsdyk, yes, but delete a hard-hitting young defenseman in Schenn.  We already shed another d-man that had some toughness (and maybe some “potential”) in Aulie.  We still are searching for goaltending depth (and certainty), team toughness, a true elite center and players with successful playoff experience.

That’s a lot of things “lacking”.  And the blue and white have not played a meaningful game in a long time- February of last year, maybe, when they still had aspirations of a playoff spot.  But as I also said here not long ago, in the wide-open Eastern Conference, I still believe and maintain that the Leafs could earn a playoff spot if their best players play like they can and the goaltending emerges as a strength and not a glaring weakness.  (I still want to believe in Reimer.)

I just remind myself, and fellow Leaf followers, that while the system looks “stocked” full of great prospects, when you actually assess things player by player, I’m not so sure we have what we think we have.

Hey, we just may have an NHL season after all, so this discussion will maybe get pretty real very soon.  By all means, let me know what you think….


  1. I read your blog tonight and found myself nodding along in agreement. Then I went and did a simple google search on farm system ratings. I found the Leafs highest ranking was 13th, the second highest was 20th and the worst was 28th.

    All of them had the same basic synopsis. The leafs have a wealth of third and fourth line character players at the forward posistion. They have an abundance of two way defensemen at the 3-5 posistion. Goaltending is full of journeymen players, good enough to play and back up, maybe start for a year or two on weaker teams but no number one. Outside of Rielly who has some serious potential according to these sites (number 1, 1a type player) there are no stars and that includes Frattin and Kadri.

    I have been saying this for a while exactly as you have Michael, yeah there are some intriuging pieces, some nice baubles but every team has those. If the Brian Burke defenders can only point to his restocking of the farm team as his one great achievment then I would have to say epic fail. The best rating he can get after 4 years is middle of the pack (13th) and this is hailed as great thing.

    Basically his farm system looks a whole lot like his NHL team, one bonafide star (Kessel,Reilly) and a whole lotta replaceable parts. This leads me to my biggest fear, the Leafs will trade for Luongo, who will if you go by his history be just good enough to get them into 10-9th place and another medicore draft pick.

    This is the time to bottom out, trade Kessel for a stud prospect or two and I mean legitmate sure fire NHL future stars. Since without Luongo I figure the Leafs have a decent shot of being last or at least in the bottom three with an excellent chance to draft a franchise player. Three years from now you would have the makings of a team. He should have done this when he first got here instead he tried to skirt the process and wasted four years.

  2. A sobering assessment, Willbur, but a realistic one, in my view. Thanks.

  3. MIchael,

    I don't know how you continue to do it, but, you did it again. Stop reading my thoughts on the Leafs. As a fan, it is sometimes hard to be honest and realistic assessing the team you love. I would often rather be a homer, and espouse long winded rants about how great a Marlie player on that teams 4th line is going to someday be a star in the NHL. It is possible. It just doesn't happen all that often. To the point, that it might as well be never. It certainly seems to me that you have what you think you have.

    I agree with Willbur wholeheartedly. Trade Kessel when the CBA bs gets resolved. I don't think he will re-sign in Toronto anyway. Do not sign Luongo, tank, and try to build back up with some stars. It is true that it might not work, but if we are being honest, we will agree that what Burke has done to this point isn't working either.

    Having a bad hockey team that barely makes the playoffs is not a measure of success where I come from. Do what it takes to lift the cup, or do not. But don't do the latter, while claiming to do the former.

    Happy New Year Michael. I have enjoyed this blog a tonne, and I will appreciate it even more when there is some NHL hockey to discuss, soon I hope.

  4. Like Willbur, you likely speak for quite a number of fans on this one, Jim. We'd all like to believe that this "re-build" is on track, but while there are some nice pieces being assembled, it's hard to believe that the team is close to being an elite Eastern Conference squad. But I'm open to being convinced!

    More importantly, thank you for everything you contribute to VLM, Jim. Happy New Year!

  5. All of our prospects aren't going to be can't miss top 5 picks, Mike. In fact, we may only have one of those in Rielly.

    The name of the game is to accumulate good prospect depth and try to develop properly and hope the dividends start to pay off. The Leafs are starting to do both of those things, the Marlies are an important part of it, and it should start to pay dividends.

    Their defensive depth in prospects is excellent, and they have a groundswell of potential third, maybe second line prospects.

    I acknowledge we need to add another potential top end forward prospect, as our only top six prospect up front right now is Kadri (given the state of Colborne's development), but it's a process. The top 10 of the 2012 draft happened to be defense heavy and we picked up a potential high end defenceman instead. We do have an established 25-year-old near-40 goal scorer in Kessel and a 23-year-old big bodied prospect with a load of potential in James van Riemsdyk.

  6. My view is probably somewhat less enthusiastic, Alec, though I absolutely acknowledge that the organization has tried to take steps to shore up some obvious areas of weakness.

    There are still so many questions, however, as there are with many NHL rosters. Will Kessel be a "big game" player. (We have no idea, because the Leafs haven never played a truly big game since he's been here...) Will Kessel even re-sign with the Leafs?

    Do we have enough elite defensemen to compete this season? Goaltending? Too, in an era when serious injuries (e.,g. greater awareness around concussions) necessitates having a ton of elite talent to win a championship, do we have young players who will be more than replaceable parts?

    Are we anywhere near having enough grit, a quality so necessary come playoff time?

    Gardiner and Kadri now both seem to be facing those concussion questions, and that's never a good thing for any player. So I will hope, but I'll be from Missouri for a while yet when it comes to the Leaf cupboard.

    Thanks Alec!

  7. I know what you're saying about our hopeful expectations for a number of players on the Marlies. From my perspective, I believe a some players, like Ranger, Holzer and Kostka, have their greatest potential to be like the "no name" Leaf defense with Lefebve, Markov and the like.

    I see this potential realized MORE in the 'bottom line ($$/cap hit)' than on the ice. Wouldn't we all be satisfied with a Komi on the team, if he was making less than 1.5M?

    If another team will trade a high end player in exchange for Franson or Gunnarson plus, plus... I would argue that this pipeline could provide comparable replacements at less cost.

    If Komi could be exchanged in a useful mutual $$ dump scenario, I believe we'd be more mobile and functional with the defensemen available on the Marlies (who, it appears, wouldn't have to go through re-entry waivers if the CBA proposal mentioned continues to completion with that element).

    I may be wrong, but it seems that the compliance buyout option may be available up to the beginning of the 13/14 season (not just the first few days of the new CBA - since the interim cap stays at 70M til then).

    After I proposed my own new Lombardi/Franson-for-Lebda/Slaney type trade possibility (i.e. Komi/Kadri/plus-for-DiPietro/TAVARES), the initial damper was that a player had to be on your team for a season before you could buy him out, but that buyout had a 10-day window (so you could only buyout someone on your present roster).

    With the potential for a hammer to be wielded over the Canucks, for their Luongo back-diving deal responsibilities, I think he may/could be 'off the trade table' because of the long-term effect of having him on the cap (in some manner) after early retirement in another city. It may actually be better for Vancouver to buy him out and improve their 16 players-for-60M 13/14 position than to trade him.

    If that's the case, then the Leafs might be able to send Komi (#8 pick, Long Island native, pay-lower-than-cap hit), Kadri (#7 pick, good prospect with NHL-ready skill) and Connolly (Islander #5 pick, potentially short-term, pay-lower-than-cap hit, could be 1st line center) FOR DiPietro (Former #1 pick, injury-laden/potential LTIR spot holder until buyout, veteran back-up presence for a year, few-other-than-Toronto-could-afford-to-buyout) AND, the plum, Tavares (Burke-and-all-of-us-coveted/local (Mississauga) face-of-the-franchise #1C/reasonable salary/ shoots-left-feeding-Kessel, dream-reason-for-the-trade and expense-of-buying-out-DiPietro).

    Still think there's some hope (however remote)for this to actually happen... and, if Burke goes all (Burke-mentored?) Alex Anthopoulis on us, then we might even send off some other forward prospect(s) in order to pluck the Ontario-boy, #12 pick, Calvin DeHaan, to replenish the defense that could be promoted from the Marlies (with the departure of Komi).

    All the best for a New Year that (we hope and dream) includes an on-ice version of the Tavares-led Leafs (in January)!

  8. Kadri and Gardiner are both battling concussion, but I'm not sure they're any less of a significant pair of young assets.

    Is Kessel a big game player? What reason do we have to think he isn't? He's produced in his playoff games so far in his young career.

    Will Kessel re-sign? What reason do we have to think he won't?

    We could play this questions game with any team in the league if we so chose.

    We can't know everything or shore up every possible or potential need that may pop up in the future. This was an organization that showed no serious interest in the drafting and developing facets of team building from the late 90s to the end of the JFJ era. We have paid for it dearly since the lockout. We have a GM who respects how team building works in the modern NHL and we're headed down the right track. Granted, it's taking longer than you or I or Burke hoped, and in a few instances this hasn't been helped along by a few Burke missteps, but it's also probably more of a testament to our starting point than anything Burke's fouled up. The general right idea is present.

  9. "But beyond that obvious trio, who from the Marlies do you think will set the world on fire when they get to the big club—if they even get there?"

    I think you and I look at this quite differently. I am in a really good mood about the Marlies. I am not so focused on the lack of superstars. The Marlies are first in the West. I am happy about the improvement and potential contribution that they will make over the long term.

    The last two games against the Grand Rapids Griffins provided a moment of revelation. The Griffins are the Red Wings farm club and are near the top of the league and we took three of a possible four points against them without Kadri and Gardiner.

    The was a time when people would complain about the Leafs and compare them to the Red Wings: Why don't the Leafs draft better, hang on to their prospects, properly develop them in the AHL like the Red Wings?

    I think we are starting to do that. Guys like Jesse Blacker aren't going to be rushed like Luke Schenn. My guess is that Blacker gets at least two or three more years in the AHL, even though he had a decent first year for a 20 year old defenceman (16 points in 58 games) Guys like Kadri, Frattin got some time in the AHL to dominate (point a game level) and experience a playoff run. Scrivens and Blacker also got that playoff experience.

    Dallas Eakins has spoken about that playoff run and the calm, resilient demeanour of this team. They know they can come back from two goals down and they have done it a number of times. I can't wait until more of that winning attitude becomes a bigger part of the Leafs.

    It is also encouraging that this process will continue. We have a good number of prospects in the OHL and WHL and they will soon become Marlies. Josh Lievo has 35 points in 30 games. Tyler Biggs has 33 in 34 games. Connor Brown has 45 points in 37 games. 235 lb goon David Broll has 28 points in 36 games. Even our other defencemen are doing well. Stuart Percy has 20 points in 34 games . Matt Finn has 26 points in 29 games. I can't remember a time when we had such wealth of prospects and they will soon likely be Marlies, so that team will be good and continue its winning ways for some time.

    Going back to the comparison with the Red Wings...somewhere in that group is a player like Darren Helm and Justin Abdelkader. Prospects that aren't superstars but did their time in the AHL, play a good two way NHL game and contribute in the playoffs. Who would you rather have on your 4th line? Darren Helm or Jay Rosehill? Don't under estimate the value of better bottom six guys.

    From the current and future Marlies we will get better call ups. It won't be like the old days when we used to call up Brayden Irwin, Luca Caputi and Phil Oreskovic. All of those guys couldn't even play a strong AHL level game and are now down in the ECHL. Keith Aucoin is a career point a game guy. Spencer Abbott is almost a point a game as a rookie.

    With all these Marlies and prospects we can actually make the deals for the star players.

    Ranger and Kosta might be the pieces that allow us to trade for Louongo. Perhaps the deal for Louongo incudes Liles and MacArthur?

    Ranger's re-emergence plus Holzer and Blacker's continued development might allow Burke to include Bozak, Franson, Gunnarsson and draft choice in a deal for Getzlaf. We heard of these 3 roster player deals in the discussion of the Rick Nash trade.

    Once you have all this depth can spend hours imagining what the deals might be and they are more realistic because you are giving quality for quality.

    I just hope we get the NHL back this season so I can see what we do with all this depth.

  10. No question it would be good if we could use the 5-6 defense slots on useful younger (and less expensive players), InTimeFor62. And maybe some combination of the players we are talking about today from the Marlies could provide an uplift at a lower cost on the back end.

    As for the Islander trade notion, you have, as I recall, raised this tempting suggestion before, right? It is enticing to think about Tavares, though I still struggle to see what the Islanders would be getting in that scenario. As a cost move, maybe, but I sense the Isles want to build (understandably) around JT. That said, like your creative thinking!

    Lots of mull over in your post, as always. Thanks, InTimeFor62.

  11. I respect your perspective, Alec.

    From my end, I look at the late '90s/early 2000s period differently. Quinn alone in only four years as GM (never drafting near the top 10) selected Colaiacovo, Wellwood, Harrison, Pilar, Steen, Stajan, White and Kronwall. No superstars, but all have had nice NHL careers. Should we have expected more, considering where the Leafs were drafting? And they did not draft high, because they were competing for the Cup every year.

    And for those who say the Leafs traded away their future for guys like Owen Nolan, etc...I can't think of one player/prospect from that Quinn as GM era who excelled elsewhere? Boyes, briefly, but he has played on five NHL teams, so the Leafs were clearly not alone in finding him a moveable piece.

    Now, if we are talking about the Ferguson era specifically, I will say he did some good things, drafted some nice players like Reimer and Kulemin and a couple of others, but I won't suggest he left the organization in good shape.

  12. I have no problem with fans being hopeful about our prospects, DP. I'm just trying to be realistic.

    Yes, we need to draft, develop and retain good young players. The Wings have built from a better initial base many years ago. We don't have anyone like Yzerman or Lidstrom to build around, a stud goalie or a third line like Maltby, Draper and McCarthy.

    So yes, I love that we have "numbers" in terms of our prospects and I'm sure some of these guys will play in the NHL. I'm just going to need to see it actually happen. Right now it's all hope, based on junior hockey and minor league results. When I watch most of these players I don't get super excited. But hopefully you're right, DP.

  13. "Right now it's all hope, based on junior hockey and minor league results. When I watch most of these players I don't get super excited. But hopefully you're right, DP."

    Well try to look at it from another perspective. Because I live in Western Canada, I've been watching these Marlie games on Sportsnet and AHL live with fans of other NHL teams. They are genuinely impressed with the level of depth they see on the Marlies and they are a bit envious.

    To them Ranger sticks out. So does Kostka. Some would like to grab Ranger if possible on re-entry waivers. A few have said that he is much better than their 5th or 6th NHL defenceman.

    Some teams have very little talent in the AHL and in their system. Anything they have is already on the big team (just like the leafs from 6 years ago) You don't really realize this until you are watching an AHL game with their fans. I asked the other day, "So who are your point a game players?"

    The answer: "We don't have any."

    After watching their team get beat by a deep Marlies team, the consensus from opposing fans is that the Leafs are going to get better in future years.

    Here's a nice new link from Dallas Eakins talking about winning and the development of the team:

  14. MIchael,

    Is it fair to say that when we are considering where the franchise is with respect to the others in the League, that we must consider the whole picture and not just snapshots?

    DP is right to point out that other AHL teams may not be as loaded up as the Marlies seem to be. We also need to consider where the parent team of that AHL squad is positioned compared to our Maple Leafs. Are they more suited to compete for the Cup than the Leafs, or less so? Has that organization moved a lot of prospects and draft picks for current NHL veterans? Do they have a lot of youngsters committed to playing in the NHL right now? Where their development is under the microscope, instead of in the relatively anonymous AHL. These are clearly complex questions, and I am glad to have a place to ask, and try to answer some of them.

    I think we both look at the organization more or less, the same way. That players on the Marlies, are prospects. Guys who may or may not influence the team in the future. An unopened present as it were. Full of hope, and promise. But, not a certainty to be counted on. We have no Crosbys or Malkins in the wings waiting to play. I will also point out that there are none of them on the current Maple Leafs roster either. I see the team Burke has assembled as an excercise in mediocrity. From the big club, right on thru the minor leaguers he has assembled. I will acknowledge that I think Rielly has a chance to be more than this. I wish he was playing more on Canadas' Junior team. I only seem to notice he's on the ice on the power play.

    Unless Burke and the Leafs do employ DPs' plan and bargain shop for 3rd and 4th liners, including youngsters. So that they can pay big money for big time players. Maybe even that top 5 goalie, and a legitimate #1 centre. I don't see a lot changing in Leaf land in the near future. I think that in order to win in the NHL you need to have at least some players in your organization that are considered the very best in the world. I don't feel that way about the organization at this time. With respect to the rosters or the management team.

    Sorry for the long post. Hangover is gone, and there is no Winter Classic to occupy my time. Cheers everyone, hope you are feeling better as the day goes on.

  15. You make a ton of fair points, Jim. I like DP's thinking, too, but the plan he envisions has to come to actual fruition, otherwise we are just hoping and wishing again.

    And yes, we should be talking Winter Classic as I write this. A shame. Let's hope it is re-scheduled for next year.

  16. The problem as I see it DP is the Marlies have some good players, but few of them are true prospects. The guys you cite Ranger, Kostka aren't going to make the Leafs better now or in the future (both are already 27 years old). Yes they are good enough to be 6-7th dmen in the NHL (in fact Ranger already has over 200 games in the NHL so he should stand out at the AHL level). The problem is the Leafs already have 2-3 of those guys playing on the Leafs right now. Which is exactly the problem with the Leaf orginization to my mind, to many depth players, journeymen who probably can play in the NHL and no inpact players.

    Very little of the Marlies success is being driven by the rookies or the true top prospects except maybe Kadri and Frattin and Gardiner. Those three guys have already played signifigant NHL time and only Gardiner has all star potential. The Marlies are a veteran team driven by career AHL players such as Aucoin, Hamilton, Fraser, Zigomanis, Ranger and Kostka. Which player gets all the important face offs and defensive end duties, Zigomanis. Which set of Dmen are considered the shut down pair, Fraser and Holzer hardly two guys who are going to make any kind of impact at the NHL level. Over the last couple of days I have looked more in depth at this issue and the conclusion I have reached is that the Marlie success is a little bit of a smoke screen. Very few of the players currently playing on the Marlies are going to make any kinda of serious impact on the Leafs. Some may play a few games, some may have some limited success as 3-4 line players who have 2-3 years then fade away.

  17. You've captured a lot of my thoughts and my hesitation in embracing the belief that the Leafs have developed all these outstanding prospects, Willbur. Can't add much to your argument beyond what I wrote in the post. Thanks.

    I hope DP and others are right, we'll see....

  18. The AHL is supposed to be a developmental league yet the Leafs signed a career AHL'er in Aucoin and are playing him ahead of someone like Brad Ross who has only played a handful of games. They brought Kostka over this year and have him playing ahead of Jesse Blacker. I know the NHL lockout has forced some guys who play in the NHL to be in the AHL taking away jobs but really why would you bring Aucoin in, it makes no sense.

    The biggest reason I can think of is the so called prospect success is the only bright spot of Brian Burkes 4 years in Leafland. If he can point to the farm teams success and take some of the sting out of 4 years of wheel spinning
    at best, outright failure at worst he at least buys some time to correct things.

    Like much of what comes from the Leaf front office though the actual results don't quite measure up to the words that come down from on high.

  19. Michael,

    I have to say that I agree with Willbur here. Is the organizational mantra to teach the younger players how to win by not playing in the games, or what? I really thought that Ranger and Kostka were somewhat younger than 27. They are in their prime hockey wise, and should be dominating at the AHL level, in order for me to have any faith that they could be moderately successful in the NHL. Smoke and mirrors, precisely. I would also suggest dog and pony show, sideshow, as in look over here and pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.

    It seems like Burke will indeed have to pull off an Anthopoulous like move or three, when the lockout is over. Here's hoping that he stands a chance at doing exactly that. Komisarek to the highest bidder. Just kidding, I am sure that the Leafs have enough puck bags.

  20. Yes Jim, I assumed Kostka and Aucoin were here as experienced AHL "fillers". Could they play a few games in the NHL and maybe help? Sure.

    I like the idea of developing players at the right level at the right time. Let Rielly play junior hockey as long as he can. Let the AHL guys get some ice time. Don't do what they did with Kadri, and treat him like a yo-yo.