Following the (long overdue) dismissal of overall black-hole of hockey production Jerred Smithson, the Toronto Maple Leafs have recalled former sixth round pick Jerry D’Amigo from the AHL’s Toronto Marlies. D’Amigo has become somewhat of a forgotten prospect in the Maple Leafs system, but as the wonderful blog Hope In The Big Smoke showed us this past summer, he compares favourably with (if not surpasses) the more highly touted Matt Frattin.
In 19 games with the Marlies so far this season D’Amigo has posted just 8 points. While that may seem disappointing at face value, D’Amigo isn’t being recalled for his offensive prowess (although we all realize the Leafs need an offensive jolt). In the last few seasons D’Amigo has emerged as one of the go-to penalty killers for the Marlies.
D’Amigo’s strong skating ability and tenacious forechecking make him a dangerous penalty killer and ideal fourth liner for a team that doesn’t like to employ one-dimensional face punchers on the fourth line. While D’Amigo isn’t exactly a hulking giant at 5’11″, he is a sturdy kid, weighing upwards of 210 lbs. His skillset certainly isn’t going to set the NHL on fire, but he’s the type of player that given the opportunity will capture the hearts of Torontonians.
If D’Amigo can translate the penalty killing abilities that have allowed the Marlies to be 6th in the AHL in PK% to the Leafs, he will likely find himself carving out a role with the big club, at least until Randy Carlyle finds another useless veteran that can fill the fourth line instead.