Jeremy Bracco needs to make one factor clear — he has a team-first mentality and was ecstatic when his Toronto Marlies hoisted the Calder Cup final June.The factor is, discovering your self in the course of the motion is much more enjoyable.After being made a wholesome scratch for many of Toronto’s run by way of the 2018 American Hockey League playoffs, Bracco is entrance and centre as this iteration of the Marlies prepares to open the Jap Convention closing.Second within the AHL’s total regular-season scoring race with 79 factors, the 22-year-old added two objectives and 9 assists by way of seven post-season video games as Toronto swept the primary two rounds of the playoffs.And his ego-damaging expertise 12 months in the past makes that success even sweeter.“It was robust,” Bracco mentioned after follow earlier this week. “However I simply need to win ultimately.”Chosen 61st total by the Maple Leafs within the 2015 draft, the winger got here into 2017-18 off a Memorial Cup victory with the OHL’s Windsor Spitfires the place he led his crew in scoring on the event.Learn extra: Jeremy Bracco leads the Marlies into the AHL post-season, with increased objectives in mindBracco wasn’t used to getting informed he’d be the one to sit down — it had by no means occurred — however suited up for simply 4 of Toronto’s 20 playoff video games final spring. In all, he performed simply 54 of the Marlies’ 96 video games in his first professional season.“It leaves somewhat chip in your shoulder,” Bracco mentioned. “No person needs to look at. That was one thing that motivated me.”Marlies head coach Sheldon Keefe, whose crew opens the convention closing towards the 51-win Charlotte Checkers on Friday in North Carolina, mentioned Bracco’s rededication was evident from coaching camp onwards.Scratched final spring after Andreas Johnsson returned from the Leafs, the five-foot-11, 171-pound Bracco targeted on all the pieces from conditioning to diet to how he spends his down time.“He was by no means quick on confidence, however there was some insecurity there as a result of he hadn’t confirmed himself at this stage,” Keefe mentioned. “Clearly he’s gotten over that … he simply is aware of and feels that he’s such a significant a part of our crew.”Keefe mentioned the dedication proven by Bracco, who had 22 objectives and 57 assists within the common season, has given him the flexibility to battle by way of robust matchups.“He’s a marked man and (opponents) are properly conscious of him,” mentioned the coach. “Taking good care of himself off the ice, being ready mentally, bodily for these challenges has actually helped.”Veteran linemate Chris Mueller mentioned the transition from Bracco’s first skilled season to now has been spectacular.“The sky’s the restrict,” mentioned the 33-year-old, who had 65 factors within the common season and has 9 extra within the playoffs. “He proved he might be an offensive catalyst. He needs the puck, he needs to do properly, he needs to make performs for different individuals.“Whenever you begin rolling with a participant together with his talent set, he’s unstoppable.”A pass-first expertise, it’s at all times been Bracco’s nature to search for a teammate moderately than shoot. It doesn’t matter what sport he’s watching, the native of Freeport, N.Y., appreciates the set-up — a no-look feed in basketball, a bending cross in soccer — greater than the precise end.“It’s one thing that’s at all times been ingrained in me,” Bracco mentioned with a smile. “Keefer would typically like me to examine off on that concept and shoot it, nevertheless it’s one thing I’ll at all times have and be grateful to have.“Among the guys make enjoyable of me that I have fun extra on assists than I do on objectives.”That imaginative and prescient is little doubt a part of what drew him to the Leafs, who might very properly be calling on his companies within the not-too-distant future.Relying on what the massive membership does this summer time with a looming wage cap crunch — Mitch Marner wants a large elevate and the buying and selling of different forwards stays a risk — spots for youthful, cheaper choices might materialize.Bracco seems at former Marlies teammates Johnsson and defenceman Travis Dermott, and winger Trevor Moore, who’s again within the AHL for the 2019 playoff push after an audition with the Leafs this season, as examples of gamers placing within the work and getting rewarded.“You need to be a type of guys, however when a buddy does that it’s fairly particular,” Bracco mentioned. “All people right here needs to play within the NHL at some point. All people’s working in direction of that objective. Hopefully it should occur for a few of us.”Bracco would seem like on that path.