By: David Alter
(NEWARK) — Ryan Hamilton will make his NHL Debut tonight as the Maple Leafs visit the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center.
It’s been a long road for Hamilton. In early 2009, Hamilton was traded by the Minnesota Wild in exchange for Robbie Earl. The Oshawa native then began to battle injuries. First he had a heart ablation which kept him out for a considerable amount of time. Hamilton then dealt with a knee injury last season.
“I’ve told my friends and family and the phone has been going off, it’s been a real exciting time” said Hamilton.
In the off-season, Hamilton resigned with the Maple Leafs. He has been healthy all-year while earning the captaincy.
“The statement I made to Dallas Eakins was who has earned it?” Head Coach Randy Carlyle asked. “The first name that came was Hamilton, the second name that came was Kadri so it was easy. From a coaching standpoint it gives you another chance to assess what you’ve got.”
Matt Frattin twisted his ankle towards the end of practice yesterday. That put the wheels in motion to call up Hamilton first. Clarke MacArthur (upper-body injury) was a decision the team had to make this morning. MacArthur’s absence guaranteed the beginning of Nazem Kadri’s third stint with the Maple Leafs this season.
James Reimer will make his sixth consecutive start in goal tonight while Martin Brodeur counters for New Jersey.
Carlyle hinted yesterday that the lineup we saw at practice wouldn’t necessarily be the same one that holds today. While Carter Ashton was on that top line yesterday, Don’t be surprised if Nazem Kadri or Ryan Hamilton get that opportunity up front.
“I haven’t really sat down and thought to much about it” said Carlyle about his line combos. “One things for sure is you don’t call up a top line forward and play him on the fourth line.”