Stuart Percy and Petter Granberg both have something to prove.
Percy wants to illustrate to the Maple Leafs they made the right choice when they made him a first-round selection, 25st overall in 2011.
Petter Granberg, meanwhile, hopes to reinforce the idea the Leafs were wise to choose him, if belatedly, in the fourth round (116th overall) in 2010.
So far so good.
“If I’m in the upper management of the Toronto Maple Leafs I’d be pretty excited about these guys being a potential shutdown pair in the NHL,” said Marlies coach Steve Spott.
Percy, 20 and Granberg, 21, have provided the Marlies with steady error-free play. Both players have recorded just one assist. Granberg is a plus 4. Percy stands at plus 1.
Both players bring NHL size. Percy is six-foot-one, 193 pounds. Granberg goes six-foot-three, 200 pounds.
“Stew and Petter are in my mind on par and I think both have a chance to be special players in the organization,” Spott said. “Both have very low panic thresholds. They’re both very intelligent players. Petter is what I call covert physical. He wins all his battles and he’s extremely tough in the corners. Stew has more natural offence.”
“I’m not like a Morgan Reilly who can take the puck up ice many times in a game,” said who scored 13 goals in his last year with the OHL’s Mississauga Steeheads. “My offence comes from being aware and making good decisions.”
Granberg meanwhile may enjoy a long NHL career without the thrill of his own NHL goal. He scored just once in 73 games in the Swedish Elite league.
Granberg is the more experienced of the pair. He was a member of Sweden’s World Junior Hockey Championship club at the 2012 games. Granberg and Colorado’s Gabriel Landeskog were the only 20-year-olds on Sweden’s gold medal winning team in the 2013 World Championship.
Being drafted in the fourth round, Granberg, said, wasn’t disappointing.
“I wasn’t sure I was going to get drafted at all,” he said and he has a point. High draft picks usually bring some offence and Granberg lacked the one overwhelming skills scouts look for.
Granberg loves the rugged nature of the AHL and the smaller ice surface found in North American rinks.
“I like it better than at home,” he said. “The game is more physical and that’s good for me.”