Byron Froese was recalled by the Maple Leafs on Thursday morning. Here's what he had to say about joining the big club.
Will you be in the lineup on Saturday in Montreal?
That would be awesome. I'm not sure if I will be or not but I will be ready to go.
Where were you when you heard the news?
I was at my place, got the call and I was really excited.
Is it gratifying to be with the Leafs getting set to play Montreal a year after splitting time between the ECHL and AHL?
It definitely is. I've been working hard throughout the whole process and just waiting for my chance.
With three goals in four games, what has gone right with the Marlies thus far?
I think just getting to the net. I've had a lot of greasy goals I would say that weren't super pretty but whenever you're at the net good things happen.
Can you bring that with you to this group?
Of course, that's part of my game is shooting pucks and getting to the net and obviously working hard in the D zone to make sure pucks get out of our zone first.
Can you take us from draft year to here and your steps to this point?
I was drafted by Chicago, I played on their farm team -- up and down with their ECHL team and their farm team for three years. I signed an ECHL deal after that with Cincinnati and made San Antonio out of camp. I got sent back down after I didn't want to sign with them and ended up with the Marlies.
Was it a difficult roster to crack in Chicago with all the depth in their organization?
Yeah, definitely. I also just think I wasn't ready coming out of junior. I think I wasn't mentally prepared and now I am.
Do you think your resilience in trying to make teams has defined you as a player?
For sure. I remember when I broke my collarbone when I was 16 and I thought I was done playing high school hockey. I got cut from midget and it all took a turn for the better when I went into Everett, played well and cracked that squad.
Who was the first person you told about the recall?
I told my parents and my brothers.
Are there other NHLers to come out of Winkler, Man.?
Yeah -- Eric Fehr, Justin Falk, Dustin Penner.
What has your experience been like under Sheldon Keefe?
It has been really good. He's definitely a byproduct from Coach Babcock here. We're trying to do everything the same way, trying to learn the exact same systems and Sheldon is a really smart guy. You saw it in the Soo, he brought his team -- I think they won the league last year, I'm not sure if that's true or not [Sault Ste. Marie finished the regular season with the best record in the OHL], but he's a smart guy and I'd like to take everything I can from him.
Have you had conversations with Mike Babcock about what the expectations will be this weekend?
I think I know my role, I don't know whether I'll be in or not like I said, but I just want to be out there winning faceoffs, working as hard as I can, thinking the game. I think that's my best attribute is being smart on the ice.
You played under Ben Simon in Cincinnati, did that help the Marlies connection?
Yeah, I think so, I'm sure exactly how that all worked out but I was just excited to get the call.