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Ling back at home in blue and white

by John Bartlett || AHL On The Beat Archive

From the Rock to Russia to the Big Smoke, David Ling certainly has racked up the air miles in his professional career.

The veteran forward was one of the many experienced signings this past summer by the Toronto Marlies. With a focus on adding more scoring and overall depth in the Toronto organization, Ling found himself back in the Maple Leafs fold.

Ling, a former Kingston Frontenac in the OHL, was a seventh-round pick in the 1993 Entry Draft by the Quebec Nordiques. With a nose for the net, he scored 61 goals and 135 points in his final junior season before launching a pro career that has seen him appear in 93 NHL games with Montreal and Columbus.

His best season in the AHL was his last tour of duty in the blue and white, scoring 28 goals and notching 88 points with the St. John’s Maple Leafs. After leading the team in scoring for the 2004-05 season, he left to play in Russia for two seasons before returning to Toronto this summer.

Ling has been one of the key pieces to the puzzle that has the Marlies off to their best start in franchise history, at 4-0-0-1 in the first five games. He’s netted a goal and seven points in that stretch. He scored his first of the season on Oct. 20 when he tipped in a cross-ice pass from Colin Murphy. The net was wide open and Ling ended up taking himself into the net.

“It’s good to always get that first one,” said Ling. “Guys were joking that I almost went right under the crossbar because I was too short to hit it.

“We have a good team, right from the goaltending up,” commented Ling, who added that the new depth has made it tough to fit everyone in the lineup each night. “You know (Chris) Harrington is not in the lineup and any other team I’m sure he’d be on the power play.”

One of the keys to the Marlies success early on has been the play of their special teams, which are ranked first in both power play and penalty kill in the AHL.

“We have role players playing the penalty kill and our power play has highly skilled guys and it’s been clicking and that’s a big key to winning.”

Toronto missed the postseason last year and is looking to make an impact this year early on, battling for first place in the North Division. The Marlies have outshot their opponents in every game and have outscored them 24-12.

“We have some great depth in defense and our forwards and I think that when you have that good a team the offensive chances individually come.”

Ling and the Marlies hope there are many more chances still to come as the season progresses.