WINNIPEG — NHL rookie Auston Matthews may be the talk of Toronto. But down on the farm, it’s a Winnipeg forward turning heads.
Brendan Leipsic currently leads the Toronto Marlies, the Toronto Maple Leafs’ AHL affiliate, in scoring with 29 points in 24 games. The third-year pro is on pace for a career year despite having missed a fifth of the season.
“I’m just trying to take advantage of any opportunity I have,” said Leipsic ahead of Tuesday’s game against the Manitoba Moose at MTS Centre.
“You’re one year older, you get more confidence with the puck and more trust from the coaches.”
A self-described slow starter, Leipsic was anything but sluggish this season. The 22-year-old was named the AHL’s Player of the Month in October after posting three goals and 10 assists in eight games to begin the year.
“It was nice getting off to a good start,” said Leipsic. “I’m just trying to stay consistent throughout the season. It’s a long season so I’m trying not to have too many ups and downs.”
Regularity he hopes helps him return to the NHL. Leipsic had a goal and two assists in six games with the Maple Leafs last season – a small stint but one that gave him a big boost.
“It gives you confidence but it also makes you feel like you can play there,” said Marlies head coach Sheldon Keefe. “You come back that much more motivated to prove that you don’t belong here.”
With 10 points in his last nine games, Leipsic is doing exactly that.
“You always want to get a call up to the big club,” said Leipsic. “I’m working hard every day, trying to get better.”
To be his best so he can play with the best.