Season opener Saturday
Ian Clark's On Hockey: Monarchs' edge is youthful experience
Monarchs' defenseman Jeff Schultz stands by teammate Sean Backman during practice at St. Anselm College on Thursday. (DAVID LANE/UNION LEADER)
Manchester, which opens the AHL season at Springfield Saturday at 7 p.m., will have its entire top scoring line back as well as a veteran NHL defenseman to help with a young roster.
The trio up front did not appear destined for Manchester. Toffoli had a strong playoff run with L.A. last year while Pearson made a strong case for himself in camp last month.
Other players to watch up front include Scott Sabourin, rookie Maxim Kitsyn and Sean Backman as well as returning hands such as Andy Andreoff, Jordan Weal, Hunter Bishop, Brian O’Neill and Robbie Czarnik.
“Jeff is a class act. He wasted no time arriving in Manchester. Most guys would have taken their time, but he showed up ready to work,” Morris said. “I’m sure he’s anxious to get back to the NHL, but he said he’d do what he needs to do to help out and be a mentor.”
Rookies Colin Miller, Alex Roach and highly touted prospect Derek Forbort will all be vying for playing time.
“I think everyone is excited to be back in the routine and competing again,” Morris said. “These guys, with another year of experience under their belt, I’m sure we’ll start to see them reap the rewards as a team.”