The first cut, or trade is the deepest.
Just ask Ryan Hamilton
and Richard Greenop
, two members of the Toronto Marlies who figure to begin their season in the American League.
Hamilton, a 24-year-old left winger arrived in Toronto meanwhile through last season. Greenop, a six-foot-four, 235 pound right-winger was cut by the Chicago Blackhawks this spring and snapped up by the Leafs to add a bit more truculence to the Marlies game.
“I definitely did not expect a trade,” said Hamilton who was toiling with the Minnesota Wild’s Houston affiliate when the call came Jan. 21. “We were having a team-building day at a paint ball place and when I got, there were seven missed call messages from the assistant general manager. About 15 seconds into our conversation, he told me I was being traded to Toronto.”
Hamilton’s parents live in Whitby. Tickets, an afterthought in Houston, became a major undertaking with the Marlies. His parents watched every home game and even traveled to some nearby contests in New York State.
Hamilton, meanwhile, recovered from his shock and quickly established himself as a player who could be used in any situation.
Hamilton scored eight goals in Houston and seven more with the Marlies and found immediate chemistry with centreman Alex Foster.
“He’s got great skill and he works really hard.” Hamilton said. “That’s my game, hard work.”
A look at the club’s off-season acquisitions shows the organization’s new emphasis on size, a commodity much valued by Leafs’ GM Brian Burke.
The Marlies signed six-foot-three defenceman Jay Rosehill
and returned character guy Ben Ondrus. The Marlies added two-hundred pound scorer Tim Brent. The 25-year-old Cambridge native is an AHL veteran with stops in Cincinnati, Portland, Wilkes-Barre and Rockford, Illinois.
Greenop had just wrapped up his junior career winning a Memorial Cup with the Windsor Spitfires. The Chicago Blackhawks held his rights but they waived him just before the NHL draft. Moving over to the Marlies, Greenop said, will work out great.
“It was a shock at first but it turned out the Leafs were looking for a player of my description,” he said. “It was a perfect fit.”
Greenop scored just four goals in 40 games. The vital stats are as follows, six-foot-four, 235 pounds, and 596 penalty minutes in four years with the Spits.
“My game is a hard-working game. I play rough. What is happening in Toronto reminds me of what happened in Windsor. Bob Boughner immediately brought in players who could play a rougher style. It worked for me. I’ve never been afraid to step up and do my job.”