TORONTO - Sam Carrick’s second training camp with the Maple Leafs has come and gone.
But the Brampton Battalion forward wasn’t mired in disappointed gloom as he lugged his equipment and a handful of sticks out of the MasterCard Centre on Wednesday morning.
“Not really,” Carrick said. “I’m just more excited to get my OHL season started. I’m going back to Brampton as a bit of a leader.
“I was kind of expecting it. They said I had a pretty good camp, and I have to build off it. They’re going to watch me lots and it’s my contract year, so I have to have a good year.”
Coach Ron Wilson pared 23 players from camp, leaving the Leafs with 47 players on the roster.
Sent to the Marlies were forwards Brayden Irwin, Will Acton, Kelsey Wilson, Matt Caruana, Tyler Brenner, Jamie Devane and Kyle Neuber as well as defencemen Dave Cowan, Denny Urban and Josh Engel.
Carrick was one of nine players returned to their junior clubs. Also cut were forwards David Broll (Sault Ste. Marie), Andrew Crescenzi (Kitchener), Josh Leivo (Sudbury), Josh Nicholls (Saskatoon), Sondre Olden (Erie) and Brad Ross (Portland). Defenceman Stuart Percy, a Leafs first-round pick in June, is heading back to Mississauga, and goalie Garret Sparks was returned to Guelph.
Released from amateur tryouts were forward Mitchell Heard and defencemen Matt Stanisz, Garrett Clarke and Mike Schwindt.
Among those who made it past the first round of cuts were young forwards Greg McKegg and Kenny Ryan.
Wilson has said he wants to get down to approximately 40 players after Wednesday night’s game in Philadelphia, with a target of 26 or 27 players still in camp after this weekend’s home-and-home set with the Buffalo Sabres.
The message for those sent back to junior was fairly simple.
“They were told the things they need to work on, why they are not here, and how close, or how far, they are away,” Wilson said. “It is easy with the junior kids.
“There will be some guys who played for the Marlies last year who did not get a sniff, but there is only so many games. We’re two weeks from the first game of the season.”