You’ve got to love the sight of the NHL standings this Friday evening, but the top of the OHL player scoring table is looking pretty Leafy as well in the early season.
Connor Brown, 6th round pick in 2012, and Carter Verhaeghe, 3rd round pick in the 2013 draft, are off to boiling hot starts for Erie and Niagara respectively. After Friday night’s games, Connor Brown took over the OHL scoring lead with a three-assist performance against Kitchener.
If you’ve been reading MLHS, you can’t say you weren’t given the heads up:
Jim Hughes: The second guy you need to keep an eye on is Connor Brown, who is top 2 or 3 in OHL scoring and should have a huge year. He worked extremely hard with Barbara Underhill and Anthony Belza (strength and conditioning coach). He should have a huge year in the OHL.
Thirdly, there’s Carter Verhaeghe, who is playing in Niagara. He’s a lot like Josh Leivo at the same age. Carter’s not strong yet, but he will be. He’s wired just like Josh; he’s got quick thoughts, he’s got high-end skill sets, he’s got great hockey sense, great playmaking ability, and he understands the game. He should have a huge year in Niagara, and he will have a huge year in Niagara. He’s going to play in all situations, as well as Connor Brown.
Verhaeghe is in his third OHL season, but will remain 18 years old almost until the beginning of the 2014-15 OHL season. He’s still pretty gangly, but the center has solid size potential at 6’1. This is a kid the Leafs are allowing a 48-month development window and they seem pretty excited about what could be there at the end of it.
In a 7-1 blowout of Owen Sound on Thursday night, Verhaeghe put up two goals and three assists in what has to be at least worthy of a Joe Thornton half-stroke. Verhaeghe didn’t just pile on the points in garbage time either, opening the scoring with the 1-0 and 2-0 goals and assisting on the 3-0 marker.
Verhaeghe has been centering Niagara’s top line next to Brendan Perlini, a top prospect for the 2014 draft and son of former Leaf Fred Perlini. Along with 2014-eligible Anthony DiFruscia, it’s a young line comprised of a 17-year-old and two 18-year-olds, and is currently ripping up the Ontario Hockey League through 8 games; Perlini is second in OHL scoring, with Verhaeghe just one point behind.
Captain of the Otters, winger Connor Brown, now in his +2 season, notched four points (2g, 2a) in Erie’s home opener on October 5. He had a five point game a few nights earlier against Sarnia (1g, 4a). His three points against Kitchener on Friday vaulted him to the top of OHL scoring for the time being.
More on Connor from our earlier interview with Hughes in the summer:
Connor will go back to Erie. He’s another guy who is skilled. He’s got some slippery speed and some soft hands. He loves the game. He has the ability to make offensive plays. I’m sure he’ll play with McDavid again this year. His situation is that we just got to be patient with him and let him continue to get stronger and continue to grow. He’s really young. If we can put 5 pounds on him this year, 5 pounds on him next year; once this guy becomes a man, he’s going to be very effective. We just need to allow him to go play junior hockey and have another great season and see where his progression is and figure out what the next step would be for him. Would it be an AHL season after that, or would it be an overage year with McDavid? We’ll see how that plays out. As you mentioned, both Leivo and Brown have some upside offensively and they’re both working really hard again this summer.
In other notable Friday night performances, Ryan Rupert of the London Knights scored a goal and three assists in a blowout over Belleville. Fabrice Herzog scored for the Quebec Remparts, his 6th goal in his first 11 games in his first QMJHL season.
Toronto Maple Leafs ProspectsLatest Update: Sunday, March 2.
|SPENCER ABBOTT||5' 9"||170||25||HAMILTON, ON, CAN||Marlies (AHL)||52||12||46||58|
|TYLER BIGGS||6' 2"||205||20||BINGHAMTON, NY, USA||Marlies (AHL)||45||6||2||8|
|CONNOR BROWN||5' 11"||160||19||TORONTO, ON, CAN||Erie (OHL)||62||41||74||115|
|TONY CAMERANESI||5' 9"||162||20||MAPLE GROVE, MN, USA||U of Duluth (NCAA)||32||4||13||17|
|SAM CARRICK||6' 0"||188||21||MARKHAM, ON, CAN||Marlies (AHL)||45||6||15||21|
|BRANDON KOZUN||5'8"||180||24||LOS ANGELES, CA, USA||Manchester (AHL)|
|JERRY D'AMIGO||5' 11"||208||22||BINGHAMTON, NY, USA||Marlies (AHL)|
Maple Leafs (NHL)
|JAMIE DEVANE||6' 5"||217||22||MISSISAUGA, ON, CAN||Marlies (AHL)|
|FREDERIK GAUTHIER||6' 5"||214||18||ST-LIN, QC, CAN||Rimouski (QMJHL)|
|FABRICE HERZOG||6' 2"||176||18||FRAUENFELD, CHE||Quebec (QMJHL)|
|GREG MCKEGG||6' 0"||191||21||ST. THOMAS, ON, CAN||Marlies (AHL)|
Maple Leafs (NHL)
|BRAD ROSS||6' 0"||175||21||EDMONTON, AB, CAN||Marlies (AHL)||43||5||2||7|
|RYAN RUPERT||5' 8"||186||19||GRAND BEND, ON, CAN||London (OHL)||62||18||43||61|
|KENNY RYAN||6' 0"||204||22||FRANKLIN VILLAGE, MI, USA||Marlies (AHL)||30||3||6||9|
|DOMINIC TONINATO||6' 1"||165||19||DULUTH, MN, USA||U of Duluth (NCAA)||31||6||7||13|
|JOSH LEIVO||6'2"||195||20||INSIFIL, ON, CAN||Marlies (AHL)|
|DAVID BROLL||6'3"||235||20||MISSISSAUGA, ON, CAN||Marlies (AHL)|
|CARTER VERHAEGHE||6' 1"||181||18||TORONTO, ON, CAN||Niagara (OHL)||59||26||48||74|
|ANDREAS JOHNSON||5'10"||172||18||GAVLE, SWE||Frolunda (SHL)|
|ANDREW MACWILLIAM||6'2"||226||23||CALGARY, AB, CAN||Marlies (AHL)||45||5||5|
|MAX EVERSON||6' 1"||184||20||EDINA, MN, USA||Harvard U (NCAA)||21||6||6|
|MATTHEW FINN||6' 0"||199||19||TORONTO, ON, CAN||Guelph (OHL)||60||14||41||55|
|PETTER GRANBERG||6' 3"||200||21||GALLIVARE, SWE||Marlies (AHL)||54||2||4||6|
|ERIC KNODEL||6' 6"||216||23||WEST CHESTER, PA, USA||U of New Hampshire (NCAA)||36||7||19||26|
|VIKTOR LOOV||6' 1"||187||20||SODERTALJE, SWE||Modo (SHL)||39||4||6||10|
|TOM NILSSON||6' 0"||176||20||MORA, SWE||Frolunda (SHL)|
|STUART PERCY||6' 1"||187||20||OAKVILLE, ON, CAN||Marlies (AHL)||51||2||16||18|
|ZACHARY YUEN||6' 0"||196||20||VANCOUVER, BC, CAN||Orlando (ECHL)||38||1||10||11|
|ANTOINE BIBEAU||6' 3"||207||19||VICTORIAVILLE, QC, CAN||Charlottetown |
Val d-Or (QMJHL)
|CHRISTOPHER GIBSON||6' 1"||188||20||KARKKILA, FIN||Marlies (AHL)|
|GARRET SPARKS||6' 2"||200||20||ELMHURST, IL, USA||Marlies (AHL)|