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National Post: Toronto Marlies defenceman Stuart Percy full of pleasant surprises

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Old
04-30-2012, 09:13 AM
  #1
hockeywiz542
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National Post: Toronto Marlies defenceman Stuart Percy full of pleasant surprises

http://sports.nationalpost.com/2012/...ant-surprises/



Stuart Percy, right, and Jake Gardiner have formed a formidable defensive pair with the Toronto Marlies, leading the team to a sweep of the Rochester Americans in the first round of the AHL playoffs.

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To ask Percy, an 18-year-old who had missed half the season with the Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors of the Ontario Hockey League because of a concussion and a knee injury, to make the jump from juniors was not realistic or particularly fair.

“I was hesitant in putting him in,” said Eakins. “They had been kind of pushing me to give him a try. But they were good. They understood that I just didn’t have any confidence in him.”

That has changed.

Percy, who recorded an assist in his minor-league debut in the final game of the regular season, helped the Marlies sweep the Rochester Americans in the first round of the playoffs. He is expected to be in the lineup when the second round begins in Toronto on Tuesday against the Abbostford Heat.

“He surprised me with his play,” Eakins said of Percy, who has no points and is a plus-1 in three playoff games. “He went in and played well and we gave him another chance. So he’s played well. It could change for him depending on his play, but right now I have no issues with him playing.”

Percy, who was selected 25th overall, has another year of junior eligibility. But with him being partnered with 21-year-old Jake Gardiner, it is difficult not to look ahead at a potential NHL defence pairing.

As a rookie with the Maple Leafs this season, Gardiner established himself as an offensive threat from the back end. He scored seven goals and had 30 points, all the while displaying the puck-moving ability of a young Brian Campbell.

In Percy, the Leafs might have yet another defenceman with similar speed, skill and smarts.

“I told my dad that,” said Gardiner. “Right away, I noticed how calm [Percy] was and the smart plays he made. Just being his [defensive] partner, it’s nice having him back there with the puck. He can give it back to me or make a play. That’s good. We can kind of rely on each other.”

“We complement each other well,” said Percy, who figures he will be more of a two-way defenceman. “I think [Gardiner’s] a bit more effective on the rush and carrying the puck than I am. My offence comes from moving the puck and just staying safe at the top, where he can take the puck and wheel around and keep his feet moving. It’s fun to watch sometimes.”

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04-30-2012, 09:19 AM
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If this paper had any vision they would have done a story on Holzer.

Glad to see Percy is getting it done.

Go M's Go!

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04-30-2012, 09:22 AM
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In before the calls for him to start the season on the Leafs

Kid looks pretty good though, seems to be a pretty decent pick

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04-30-2012, 09:23 AM
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I imagine to some in the Leafs head office, these aren't exactly surprises. That article describes him exactly as he was advertised when we drafted him. Sounds like he could develop into a very smart, quality player. Nice to see him getting some experience with Gardiner too. I'm glad Burke has focused on a couple high-IQ, strong-skating blue liners. Guys like Gardiner and Percy are becoming huge huge parts of the game these days.

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04-30-2012, 09:25 AM
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The future:

Gardiner Holzer
Percy Blacker
Gunnarsson Schenn

Don't ruin 'em.

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04-30-2012, 09:27 AM
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Nice story, pleasant surprise thus far. Percy playing well is a huge bonus going into next season.

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04-30-2012, 09:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JackJ View Post
The future:

Gardiner Holzer
Percy Blacker
Gunnarsson Schenn

Don't ruin 'em.
This is what I would love to see for 2012-13:

Suter - Phaneuf
Gardiner-Percy
Schenn-Gunnar

With Dumba or Murray a year or 2 away.

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04-30-2012, 09:35 AM
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You can never have too many quality D prospects in your system.


I won't be upset if we add one of Murray/Dumba if Galchenyuk/Grigo are gone and or possibly another D in the 2nd round.

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04-30-2012, 09:46 AM
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I'd still take Justin Schultz if we could get him, and I wouldn't object to getting a defender in this draft if it ends up BPA (and there isn't a viable C in reach), but I would not be opposed to going with what we have coming up in the system. Our D prospects are definitely one area where I don't have questions. :p

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04-30-2012, 09:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Interactif View Post
This is what I would love to see for 2012-13:

Suter - Phaneuf
Gardiner-Percy
Schenn-Gunnar

With Dumba or Murray a year or 2 away.
You want Percy with the big club next year? I think that would be a huge mistake... He barely played this year, he could use a solid year in junior to completely dominate, and then maybe even a full year or half a year in the AHL after that. 2012-2013 is probably 1.5-2 years early for Percy.

I'd love if they got Suter. It would honestly give this franchise so much more hope, because he would completely stabilize the blueline, move everyone down a notch so theyre playing where they actually should be (i.e. Phaneuf as a #2 instead of #1, Gunnar as a second pairing, instead of a #2, etc). But I don't see it happening.

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04-30-2012, 09:55 AM
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Does this mean we make a Rundblad for Tarasenko/Turris at some point with the depth and quality we have back there?

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04-30-2012, 10:20 AM
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He didn't look THAT good in the Rochester series.

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04-30-2012, 10:27 AM
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You want Percy with the big club next year? I think that would be a huge mistake... He barely played this year, he could use a solid year in junior to completely dominate, and then maybe even a full year or half a year in the AHL after that. 2012-2013 is probably 1.5-2 years early for Percy.

I'd love if they got Suter. It would honestly give this franchise so much more hope, because he would completely stabilize the blueline, move everyone down a notch so theyre playing where they actually should be (i.e. Phaneuf as a #2 instead of #1, Gunnar as a second pairing, instead of a #2, etc). But I don't see it happening.
Ideally I would love Percy to make it very difficult for the Leafs to send him back. If the Marlies go deep into the playoffs, he should have 50 games OHL/AHL under his belt this season.

I'm in no hurry with Stuart, however if he shows he can play at the AHL level, I do feel it would be 50-50 for him to go back to the OHL. Too bad he won't be 20 in Oct, where he could be sent to the Marlies, it will be the call of our player development gurus whether he has more to gain in the OHL or the NHL, if he keeps impressing at the AHL level.

This is the type of decision why the Bruins kept Seguin with the big team, it's not always the correct decision returning a young player if they show they can handle the pros. The question to me, is if Percy's filled out enough to handle the NHL? His head is probably there already.

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04-30-2012, 10:31 AM
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Quote:
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Does this mean we make a Rundblad for Tarasenko/Turris at some point with the depth and quality we have back there?
Yes it does. For the first time in many years the Leafs have some valuable chips to play. When you're the short-stack, it's impossible to play with the big boys. Now we have some currency.

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04-30-2012, 10:42 AM
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I'd still take Justin Schultz if we could get him, and I wouldn't object to getting a defender in this draft if it ends up BPA (and there isn't a viable C in reach), but I would not be opposed to going with what we have coming up in the system. Our D prospects are definitely one area where I don't have questions. :p
The smart move for Schultz is the Oilers or hometown Canucks.

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04-30-2012, 10:47 AM
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The smart move for Schultz is the Oilers or hometown Canucks.
Depends on his interests. If he wants to play with his friend, he'll go to Toronto. If he values playing in front of his hometown, he'll target Vancouver, if he wants to target a young up and coming team that can easily fit him on the blueline, he'll target Edm, NYI, Flor, TB, Ott. Or maybe he'll want to go to a team that's already a contender that could use another D, like Chicago, Detroit, LA, Philly, Pittsburgh, etc.

You could make arguments for why the "smart move" for him would be to go to any of half the teams in the league. All depends on his priorities.

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04-30-2012, 11:13 AM
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Yes it does. For the first time in many years the Leafs have some valuable chips to play. When you're the short-stack, it's impossible to play with the big boys. Now we have some currency.
We have some currency, and we will be getting more this summer. If we picked up Schultz that would just make our situation even better. I think this summer is the first time we will see Burke use some of that currency.

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04-30-2012, 11:15 AM
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We have some currency, and we will be getting more this summer. If we picked up Schultz that would just make our situation even better. I think this summer is the first time we will see Burke use some of that currency.
If we go with Dumba and or Murray this June, we are stacked at D. With ALOT of currency going into the trade deadline for Getzlaf?

More than one way to skin a cat, to fill need fwds. More sure ways than to risk it all on a player that may or may not be right with 8 games played this year.


Last edited by Interactif: 04-30-2012 at 11:22 AM.
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04-30-2012, 11:15 AM
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What I look for in a young defender is the quality of poise and Percy has that characteristic, and that can take a player a long way when you're cool under pressure.

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04-30-2012, 11:20 AM
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If we go with Dumba and or Murray this June, we are stacked at D. With ALOT of currency going into the trade deadline for Getzlaf?

More than one way to skin a cat, if we need fwds. More sure ways than to risk it all on a player that may or may not be right with 8 games played this year.
Yep, if we add another defenseman, I could definitely see Burke getting some calls for a dman for a forward deal.

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04-30-2012, 11:26 AM
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Poise and patience. Two very key skills in young defenders. He'll probably go back for his last year of junior eligibility I assume but those years are absolutely crucial in development.

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04-30-2012, 11:27 AM
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Yep, if we add another defenseman, I could definitely see Burke getting some calls for a dman for a forward deal.
Go after Shultz and Suter, hope we land 1 or both.

Draft Dumba or Murray.

The possibilites for a quick rebuild is there, I always had the timetable in 2 years we would contend. Not impossible. Still need a goalie or Reimer to regain his form.

Phaneuf
Schenn
Gardiner
Gunnar
Percy
Blacker
Holzer
Liles

------------------------------------
Suter
Dumba/Murray
Shultz

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04-30-2012, 11:34 AM
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Originally Posted by Interactif View Post
Go after Shultz and Suter, hope we land 1 or both.

Draft Dumba or Murray.

The possibilites for a quick rebuild is there, I always had the timetable in 2 years we would contend. Not impossible. Still need a goalie or Reimer to regain his form.

Phaneuf
Schenn
Gardiner
Gunnar
Percy
Blacker
Holzer
Liles

------------------------------------
Suter
Dumba/Murray
Shultz
The odds of any of Suter, Dumba/Murray or Justin Shultz becoming Leafs is not high nor in Leafs favour at this moment. IMO

What is Plan B if none of the above transpires?

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04-30-2012, 11:36 AM
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I like Percy. I hope they try and target guys with good hockey IQ. Because those are the guys that tend to improve a lot, and not be one-dimensional. Even if they lack high end skill, they're smart enough to work within a system, really support the team concept, and can fill multiple roles.

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04-30-2012, 11:45 AM
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Quote:
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The odds of any of Suter, Dumba/Murray or Justin Shultz becoming Leafs is not high nor in Leafs favour at this moment. IMO

What is Plan B if none of the above transpires?
I don't see why not? Gardiner is great friends with him, they wanted to play together in the NHL before Gardiner was traded and Gardiner also made the trip to see him @ the ASG break.

Sure the Leafs have a lot of depth in defense but that didn't stop Gardiner from impressing @ camp and stealing a spot.

Luke Schenn was given a chance as an 18 year old and that was one of the two years where he was really good.

If Schultz is really as talented as people say he is the Leafs will have little to no problem sitting Komisarek or Franson in favor of Schultz if he wants to come here.

However if he just wants to be handed a spot in the NHL without a good training camp etc -----> Oilers are his best bet.

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