Stralman Demotion Could Mean Full-Time Spot for Sifers on the Maple Leafs

Derek HarmsworthSenior Writer IDecember 14, 2008

Ron Wilson firmly believes in rewarding young players who do well at the NHL level.

Now his pal Brian Burke has gotten in on the act as well.

The Toronto Maple Leafs announced today that Anton Stralman has been sent to the Toronto Marlies of the AHL, likely ensuring that Jamie Sifers is going to stick with the big club, at least for the time being.

And he deserves it.

However, this doesn't ensure he has a spot, and he still has to continue to keep his foot on the gas pedal. The former University of Vermont graduate who was skipped over in his draft year in 2001, and signed as a free agent by the Leafs in 2006, finally has gotten the taste of the NHL he has waited so long for.

Seize the day young Jamie.  Seize the day.

Listed at 5'11" (and listed generously as a few Marlies have joked with me in the past), Sifers plays a big man's game in a small man's body.  He isn't flashy, but is more than willing to get his nose dirty to make the right play.

The NHL has him registered with three hits in two games, including some jarring hits Friday in Buffalo against the Sabres, which helped the Maple Leafs turn the tide in a 2-1 victory.

Certainly Sifers has earned this time with the Marlies, but as he knows, it isn't guaranteed.  Just because he is here now, doesn't mean he will stick around.  And he knows that.

He knows that because he played earlier this year with Jiri Tlusty.  Tlusty, who after spending part of last year playing with Mats Sundin, is riding the buses in the AHL this year.

He also knows that because after today's practice, he more than likely found out, along with the other members of the Maple Leafs, that Stralman was being sent down. 

Still, after an impressive week by two Toronto Marlies call ups, many were wondering what the Maple Leafs would do.  And it looks like we found out today.

Once Niklas Hagman returns, expect Andre Deveaux to return to the Marlies as well, with Jeremy Williams sticking around with the big club.


Just a reminder that Leafs Talk Today returns this Wednesday with special Guest Brian Rolston of the New Jersey Devils.  Aside from having the former Stanley Cup champ drop by, Josh Lewis and myself will also weave our way through all the news concerning the Toronto Maple Leafs and the National Hockey League. 

To visit the show's official website, click HERE