Kudos if you’re reading this before noon, and my condolences if the only reason you’re reading it early is because you forgot to book Monday off work. Happy Advil Day! I’ll have an actual post later in the week, but the Leafs not playing until Wednesday hasn’t left me with much to say beyond the usual, “Holzer sucks, Free Gardiner, and Trade Bozak.”
Since I felt compelled to provide one unique thought before bolting out the door to pretend I’m Irish, I’ll encourage you to check out the Future Watch issue of The Hockey News.
I largely despise The Hockey News but still always manage to shell out a couple of bucks for the Future Watch and Draft Preview issues, and as a result suffer small rage fits from how the Leafs are treated by this publication.
This year Morgan Rielly was ranked 19th on their list of 75 ranked prospects. He was the only one of the Leafs prospects in the top 75. There were a number of names that I was surprised to see ahead of Rielly, the most notable being Ryan Murray, Jacob Trouba, and Hampus Lindholm, all defensemen from the 2012 draft. I was also surprised to see that Matt Finn couldn’t crack the top 75, but with a year filled with unfortunate injuries and illness it’s understandable.
As an organization the Leafs were ranked 25th in the league for prospect talent. With a rather vague description of how this is considered, I would have to assume Jake Gardiner and Nazem Kadri are excluded from this ranking, although they apparently include NHLers under the age of 21 and prospects that are older than Kadri and Gardiner in their ranking.
Essentially I’ve chosen to take this two ways, the first being that the Hockey News has put together highly subjective ratings that are the opinions of 15 individuals. These rankings hold no real value, and essentially just sell magazines to suckers like me who want to read short blurbs on other teams players that I don’t follow closely.
The second way I’ve taken this is as a reminder that the Leafs have few high reward prospects in the system outside of Rielly. Finn, Percy, Colborne, and Biggs all stand a good chance of playing in the NHL some day, but none are regarding as potential stars of the league. Essentially, the Leafs have a solid depth pipeline, but are still reliant on trades and free agency as their means of bringing in star players.
While I think we’ve all acknowledged that we’re pleased with the depth on the Marlies and kicking around the junior and college ranks, I think we’re also at the point that at the next draft it would be nice to see Nonis gamble on some players that could have a higher upside than we’ve seen in recent years.
I’ll leave it there since my liver is feeling neglected, but it’s safe to say the Hockey News rankings should be taken with a grain of salt, but also a reminder that while the Leafs have solid prospects in the pipeline, the same can be said for almost every other team.
Your Hangover Links…
Grading the Leafs Fairly Pt. 1 (VLM)
I have to say I agree with most of this, especially the trading of Scrivens, but I would count myself as a strong dissenter of any consideration of trading Phaneuf.
‘Speed Bumps’ Derail Leafs (TSN)
Good notes from Jonas Siegel.
Getting to Know Dave Nonis (THN)
Some needs to buy Nonis some new books
Holzer’s struggles indicative of Maple Leafs thin blueline (Globe and Mail)
Mirtle with a detailed analysis of how crappy the Leafs blueline is. #FreeJakeGardiner
Jarome Iginla to the Kings? Not so fast (Globe and Mail)
The Iginla stuff is interesting, but I’m sure you’ll be more interested that Duhatschek is throwing gas on the Perry to Toronto fire.
Rielly looking for more firsts in a busy season (MJ Times)
The next franchise saviour should be joining the Marlies on Wednesday.
Predictive Power Rankings (NHL Numbers)
The Leafs ranking this week has taken an unfortunate turn.
17 Shopping Days Remain (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
Here are a few players that could be available at the deadline.
OHL Playoff Tracker
The series to watch is probably the Rangers vs. Storm.