While it’s unclear whether Perrott will return to St. John’s for the start of the season, it’s almost a certainty that he won’t be with the AHL Leafs when they begin their pre-season schedule against the Hamilton Bulldogs Thursday night at Corner Brook’s Canada Games Centre. In fact, it appears Toronto might not demote anyone to understaffed St. John’s in the next few days.
Instead, the club is bringing in three players from its Central Hockey League affiliate, the Memphis RiverKings. Right-winger and two-time CHL MVP Don Parsons, centre Kahlil Thomas and forward Jay Neal, the three leading scorers for the RiverKings in 2002-03, will fly into Deer Lake today.
Parsons, the 34-year-old Memphis captain, had a league-leading 57 goals and 106 points for Central league champ RiverKings last season. Thomas, 27, scored 23 goals and 44 assists in 63 games and was named the CHL playoff MVP last spring, with five goals and 18 assists in 14 games. The 33-year-old Neal had 20 goals and 61 points in 53 regular-season games.
Of the three, Thomas had the most penalty minutes — 74 — last season.
St. John’s coach Doug Shedden said he may very well use the three on the same line Thursday.
St. John’s Maple Leafs’ coach Doug Shedden takes on the air of a proud poppa when talking about forwards Don Parsons, Kahlil Thomas and Jay Neal.
The three, who all played for Shedden on the Central Hockey League champion Memphis RiverKings last season, were brought in last week to flesh out a St. John’s pre-season roster that was a little thin up front.
However, they’ve proven to be more than just bodies to fill up a bench, with solid showings in the first two -games of the Leafs’ three-game exhibition schedule against the Hamilton Bulldogs.
“I can’t believe they’ve played as well as they have,” said Shedden of the trio. “We’ve been talking about how they haven’t even started their training camp (in Memphis) yet and how some of the other guys (on AHL Leafs) have been skating for a month and a half. Those three guys deserve a lot of credit for coming in under those circumstances — they were chomping at the bit to come here — and for how they’ve come in and played so well.”
Parsons, Thomas and Neal are on tryout contracts and Shedden says everyone understands their presence was simply meant to provide a temporary stopgap for a short-staffed St. John’s club.
However, he isn’t dismissing the possibility of one or more sticking around longer than expected, especially now that the Leafs’ organization has one less contracted forwarded, what with the departure of Travis Green in Friday's NHL waiver draft.
Of the three, Thomas, a 27-year-old centre from Toronto, might be viewed as the one most likely to stay. Not that Parsons and Neal haven’t impressed, but they’re 34 and 33, respectively, and both are well established in Memphis.
“This all may be out of my hands,” said Shedden, “but Kahlil, with the way he’s played and especially the way he can skate has certainly caught Barry’s (Toronto Maple Leafs chief scout Barry Trapp) eye.
“It’s certainly not a remote possibility, that’s for sure. “I wouldn’t mind keeping one here for a while, just until I know we’ll get some more bodies.”
And even if none of the three stick around, Shedden agrees that their performances could lead to their recall from Memphis at some point later in this season, especially since St. John’s 2003-04 schedule has much more travel in the midwestern region of the U.S.
“But there’s no question in my mind that if we’re shorthanded anywhere, that we can call on those guys. I know what they can do. I know what they have done. Now others are seeing it, too,” said the Leafs coach.
Shedden also says their use by the AHL Leafs during the regular season would provide a boost for their Memphis teammates and the RiverKings’ organization as a whole.
“That opens the door for them to say Memphis is a legit farm team with Toronto and St. John’s,” said Shedden.
“In the past, it’s never really been used other than to move contract guys back and forth.
“If Kahlil or whomever gets an opportunity to come up and play 20 or 25 games or more this season, that certainly will make it easier for Memphis to recruit players next summer. It will also show guys down there that if you work had, things can really happen.”
The final game of the Hamilton-St. John’s series will be played 2 p.m., today at Mile One Stadium (Radio Newfoundland, sjmapleleafs.ca). It will be the runner match after St. John's won 5-4 in overtime at Corner Brook’s Canada Games Centre Thursday and the Bulldogs, the farm team of the Montreal Canadiens, rebounded for a 4-1 victory at the Gander Community Centre Friday night ...
In Gander, the Bulldogs got goals from Marc-Andre Thinel, Eric Laplante, Alexandre Mathieu and Andreas Holmqvist. Parsons scored the goal for the Leafs ... Sebastien Centomo is expected to play in goal for St. John’s this afternoon after J.F. Racine and Mike Minard got the starts Thursday and Friday ... St. John’s forwards Nathan Barrett (groin) and Luca Cereda (abdomen) were both scratched from Friday’s lineup ...
when i saw the title I was excited. they look like a bad team again this year. too many kids with no experience. having to go to memphis for help already is a bad sign.
Newbury captained a talented and young team in Sarnia last season in the OHL. A team that should have gone further in the playoffs, but lost in 6 games to Guelph.
Newbury, for his size, was a physical and strong to the net type of hockey player. Known for getting under the skin of his oppenents, Newbury was also good around the net. Mewbury game was similar to the owner of Sarnia - Dino Ciccarelli, in fact many of the players on the Sting, play a similar style.
How has he looked IF you know..??
Also looks like Daw has changed his mind and will play in St. Johns year..