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HomeCanadian NewsMaple Leafs prospect Douglas "a extremely nice story for us"

Maple Leafs prospect Douglas “a extremely nice story for us”


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He isn’t named for the towering West Coast fir tree, but Curtis Douglas is standing out in a forest of younger Maple Leafs.

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Listed at 6-feet-8 earlier than elevated on blades, he’s a Gulliver when subsequent to Lilliputian linemates corresponding to Semyon Der-Arguchintsev. But it surely’s what the 22-year-old ahead from Oakville can do with thoughts and physique that’s thrilling the Leafs and what they hope he’ll proceed to evolve into throughout this week’s five-team Traverse Metropolis Prospects Match.

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“He’s been a extremely nice story for us,” mentioned Leafs assistant normal supervisor Ryan Hardy, who’s wrangling the rookie roster on the journey. “To have had a few stops earlier than (a fourth-round choose of the Dallas Stars by way of the Windsor Spitfires, with aspect steps to AHL Belleville and Austria) then to return right here final 12 months (the Marlies) and carry out the way in which he did … the offensive manufacturing (34 factors in 67 video games) was in all probability greater than we have been anticipating.

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“He’s a giant man who works extraordinarily arduous at his craft. We now have to be affected person. I type of view Curtis as I might a goalie as a result of they take the longest to mature. We now have to mood expectations, however he brings plenty of components extraordinarily necessary to the way forward for this group. If he continues the way in which he’s going, he’ll be knocking on the door before later.”

Douglas signed a two-year entry-level contract in March. He’s 250 kilos, however no plodder. He’s artistic, makes use of his longer attain to poke verify and be robust on attracts. And for all those that have seen massive Leafs forwards come via who have been too docile or one-dimensional, Douglas added 86 penalty minutes final 12 months and had a memorable battle with Wilkes-Barre’s robust buyer Jamie Devane.

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He began Wednesday’s pre-camp scrimmage between Nick Abruzzese and Der-Arguchintsev. Douglas’s first sport, curiously, can be Thursday towards Dallas.

STICKING TO BUSINESS

Would some aspiring Leaf strive ‘The Michigan’ whereas in Michigan to impress the bosses?

Whereas there’s no scarcity of offence on the 27-man roster for Traverse Metropolis, Hardy and head coach Manny Malhotra wish to see consideration to element and defence earlier than any fancy tips like making an attempt a lacrosse-style objective behind the web.

“Largest level of emphasis, simply carry a excessive diploma of competitiveness, abrasiveness, and ensure everyone seems to be enjoying to potential,” Hardy mentioned. “We wish to play quick, aggressive, have everybody begin off on the correct foot.

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“We’re going with a really particular goal and that’s to win. We wish to set the tone main into Leafs camp (this Wednesday).”

Forwards Abruzzese, Nick Robertson, Alex Steeves and 2022’s prime choose Fraser Minten of WHL Kamloops will get the closest scrutiny, with Matthew Knies selecting to return to the College of Minnesota for 2022-23.

“It’s my first time enjoying actual hockey in a few months so there’ll in all probability be some rust,” Abruzzese mentioned. “I bought a style final 12 months (9 Leaf video games after leaving Harvard), the quickest tempo I’ve ever performed at.

“Making performs in tight areas in restricted time goes to be actually necessary. I don’t suppose the Michigan is in my wheelhouse but.”

MANNY HAPPY RETURNS

The gag order on Sheldon Keefe’s assistants speaking to the media made Wednesday a uncommon likelihood to listen to Malhotra’s tackle his teaching profession after three years right here and 6 in all after working in Vancouver post-retirement.

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“I really feel very lucky to have been given this chance of head teaching in Traverse. It means loads, understanding I do have aspirations to develop and get higher as a coach. It’s a massive deal to go there, do properly and get these guys prepared to point out properly at camp.

“Managing minutes and sport stream goes to be a brand new expertise for me; getting the matchups, discovering out who’s giving the workforce vitality, who wants a lift, who wants just a little extra ice.

“The large factor we wish to see right here is have they got the power to problem for (NHL) spots, do they take the data and apply it instantly, use that hockey IQ.”

Malhotra helped make the Leafs the league’s greatest faceoff workforce final season, at higher than 55%.

“My objective engaged on faceoffs is to emphasise and spotlight what they do very well and proceed to construct on them. I don’t need anybody to do something outdoors their field or consolation zone.”

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LOOSE LEAFS

Absent from the event is ahead Mikhail Abramov, nonetheless slowed by a late-season upper-body harm … It seems that the three goalies on the journey, Keith Petruzzelli, Luke Cavallin and Marco Constantini, will get into elements of the primary two or three video games because the Leafs tackle Dallas, St. Louis and Columbus, with one of the best performer possible enjoying the finale towards Detroit on Monday morning … With Michael Hutchinson now in Las Vegas, the Marlies have Erik Kallgren and Joseph Woll because the projected starters in web, however Petruzzelli has been a pleasing shock within the AHL … Hardy is in search of 2018 draft Pontus Holmberg to maintain making progress. He came to visit from Sweden on the finish of final season and dealt with top-line minutes for the Marlies. Ditto for defenceman Mikko Kokkonen, who arrived from Finland … Malhotra’s workers in Traverse Metropolis can be assisted by Participant Growth director Danielle Goyette, ECHL Newfoundland head coach John Snowden, Marlie goalie coach Hannu Toivonen and visitor coach Duanté Abercrombie.

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