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Rupert Ryan

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(NHL.com) On Thursday, The Toronto Maple Leafs signed London Knights forward Ryan Rupert to a three-year entry-level contract. Rupert, 19, had 73 points (21 goals, 52 assists), 54 penalty minutes and a plus-36 rating in 68 regular-season games for the London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League. In 10 playoff games so far with London, Rupert has three goals, seven assists and 10 penalty minutes. Selected by the Maple Leafs in the sixth round (No. 157) of the 2012 NHL Draft, Rupert has 194 points (58 goals, 136 assists) and 279 penalty minutes in 224 games with the Knights over...

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With the first round of the OHL Playoffs over, Carter Verhaeghe's Niagara Ice Dogs have been eliminated.  The draft+1 prospect finds himself with a shiny new pro contract and spending time in the AHL -- pretty nice consolation prize. Verhaeghe's first year as a Leaf prospect was a promising one as the youngster finished the year with 82 points in 65 games, placing him 21st among scorers in the OHL.  He still has some work to do on his skating but the instincts are there.  Here's hoping for a strong summer of training. Connor Brown is out to prove that the...

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The Maple Leafs have signed their 2013 third-round selection, centerman Carter Verhaeghe, to a three-year entry level contract as well as an amateur tryout contract to join the Marlies for the remainder of the season. His Niagara Ice Dogs recently lost out in 7-games to the North Bay Battalion in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals. “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,...

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The Marlies are well on their way to a win over Lake Erie this Saturday afternoon thanks to a Josh Leivo hat trick. Enjoy. The three goals give Leivo 19 goals in 44 games, a 35-goal pace over an 80-game season in his rookie campaign as a pro.

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Just two weeks until the start of the OHL Playoffs and the playoff picture is starting to take shape. If you've been following this feature, you know that the Leafs' OHL prospects have been dominating the league this season so it's not terribly surprising that all of them are playing meaningful games down the stretch. Carter Verhaeghe's Niagara IceDogs have the most riding on the last couple weeks of the season.  The IceDogs are two points up on the Ottawa 67s for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference and are hoping for a matchup against the top seeded Oshawa...

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The CHL Rankings are out, and Matt Finn's Guelph Storm are ranked 2nd in the country with Connor Brown's Erie Otters one behind in 3rd.  While character does not necessarily equate to hockey-playing ability, it's nice to see a couple of Leafs draft picks captaining some of the most successful teams in the world's best developmental league. As far as Brown goes, he added a couple more assists last night and continues to charge ahead at a little better than two points per game.  Brown leads the OHL with 105 points, leaving him 16 points ahead of his nearest competition;...

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Everything is coming up aces for the Toronto Maple Leafs in January.  The club has won six straight games to not just climb back into the playoff race but establish a secure foothold.  And if the riches weren’t embarrassing enough, the Leafs also have junior hockey’s hottest scorer, Connor Brown. Brown, the 156th selection in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft currently leads the Ontario Hockey League in scoring with 31 goals, 61 assists for 92 points in 45 games this season.  He holds a 10-point lead over his closest competitor (teammate Dane Fox) and is on pace to challenge the...

Jim Hughes

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MLHS' Alec Brownscombe recently caught up with Director of Player Development Jim Hughes to check in on the progress of the younger Maple Leafs. Hughes and Claude Loiselle had recently traveled to the World Juniors together to take in Frederik Gauthier and Andreas Johnson's performances for Team Canada and Team Sweden respectively, as well as one viewing of Fabrice Herzog for Team Switzerland. On Connor Brown's eye-popping production: JH: In Connor’s case, the goals and assists are in a lot of ways just the result of his whole makeup. He loves the game, he works extremely hard day in day out, he’s...

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And that's a wrap on the 2014 World Junior Championships.  I'm sure most of you reading this were hoping for a better result for the Canadian Juniors but, alas, it was not to be.  A lack of scoring, some lacklustre goaltending at times, and not enough speed to breakdown trap teams like the Finns were the downfall for Canada, who once again  find themselves off the podium.  Here's hoping for a better result on NHL-sized ice next year. Now that the dust has settled, I thought I'd have a quick look at each of the three Leafs involved in the...

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The bad news for most of you reading this is that Team Canada doesn't look very good right now.  The good news is that Andreas Johnson does. Johnson has 4 points in 2 games to start the tournament including a goal and two assists in this morning's game versus Finland.  Johnson is an undersized, skilled kid, and whether he'll be able to bring his game over to North American ice is certainly open for debate. So far in the 2013-14 World Junior's, he's been the Leafs prospect to watch.  Even in the pre-tournament games, Johnson was a standout.  Those of...

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Welcome to your slightly tardy prospect update.  This will probably be my last during the holiday season as my non-NHL focus will shift to the World Juniors -- we'll have you covered on that front, too. My last post here at MLHS discussed the Canadian entry to the World Juniors, but Team Canada isn't the only team that will feature members of the Leafs' prospect pool.  While Sweden hasn't named its team at this stage, 2013 pick Andreas Johnson has been invited to selection camp.  Johnson is putting up impressive point totals (22 pts in 32 games) in the Swedish Elite...

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Team Canada has effectively named their roster for the World Junior Championships to take place in Malmo Sweden starting on Boxing Day.  Having had a little bit of time to digest their decisions from a Leafs perspective, here are some of my thoughts. No Matt Finn The biggest surprise on Team Canada's roster from a Leafs perspective is Matt Finn's omission.  Finn is an all-situations defenseman whose biggest weakness in his game is probably his physicality -- an element which is considerably less important on International ice.  I'm surprised he didn't make the team (almost as surprised as I was when I heard Nurse...

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Welcome to North American hockey, Fabrice Herzog. When a player makes the adjustment to the smaller ice, the rougher game, and the tougher competition, you expect there's going to be something of a learning curve.  If the last two games are any indication, the Leafs' 5th rounder out of Switzerland is starting to put things together. If you're looking to judge a CHL prospect that you haven't seen by their stats, I'm a proponent of looking at their point shares relative to the rest of their team.  Comparing a London Knight to a Moose Jaw Warrior with no regard for the difference...

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The Toronto Marlies defeated the Charlotte Checkers, AHL affiliate of the Carolina Hurricanes, by a score of 3-2 Tuesday night at Ricoh Coliseum. Rasmus Rissanen opened the scoring for the Checkers at 11:02 of the first period. The Marlies would tie the game on Brad Ross’ first goal of the season at 14:30. Josh Leivo notched the lone second period goal on a powerplay at 5:36. The two teams traded goals in the final frame, with Brett Sutter scoring at 2:17 and Troy Bodie tallying the game winning goal at 13:26. The Marlies return to the ice on Saturday, November 23...

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Matt Finn is your reigning OHL Defenseman of the month. With Finn, the points never quite tell the whole story, but for the sake of a 'once upon a time,' the captain of the Storm has registered 18 points in 18 games to start the year, putting him fourth in OHL scoring among defensemen.  Add to this the news that Finn has been named to Team Canada in the upcoming Subway Super Series, and that he's led Guelph to the best record in the OHL to start the season, and it's been a great start for the 19-year old defenseman. Finn continues to play...

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Courtesy of the Toronto Marlies: "The Marlies posted a record of 1-0-1-0 in two games this past week. On Friday night, Toronto traveled down the QEW for their third meeting of the season against the Hamilton Bulldogs, AHL affiliate of the Montreal Canadiens. Despite Josh Leivo scoring his first goal of the season just over five minutes into the game, the Marlies were defeated 2-1 in overtime. Martin St. Pierre tallied both goals for the Bulldogs, while goaltender Drew MacIntyre stopped 35 of 37 shots in the loss. In their second game of the week, the Marlies defeated the...

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This past Thursday, I had the chance to take in the Colts - Ice Dogs game and got to see Carter Verhaeghe live for the first time since the rookie tournament.  Of the players taken in the 2013 draft by the Leafs, Verhaeghe has probably turned the most heads in the early stages of this season. Here are a few of my thoughts on his game. First of all, like many of the Leafs' picks over the last three years, Verhaeghe was used in all situations by Niagara, seeing time on the powerplay and penalty kill as well as significant...

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Connor Brown had himself a bit of a weekend. In two games, Brown put up 2 goals and 5 assists, holding on to his lead in the OHL scoring race at 29 points in 12 games.  Brown and teammate Connor McDavid have been making a mess of OHL defensemen and may just fight each other for the scoring lead all year long.  As I've mentioned in the past, Brown does it with smarts, hockey sense, and a well-rounded skillset rather than any particular high-end asset.  It's a small sample so far but he'll be among the scoring leaders in the OHL...

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Thanks were given, turkey was eaten, and hockey was played this long weekend. Connor Brown continued his assault on the OHL with another 7 points in 3 weekend games.   The Erie Otters are second to only the Kingston Frontenacs in goals for to start the season and Brown's league leading 22 points are a big reason why.  Brown didn't get as much of an opportunity to shine at the Leafs' rookie tournament as I would have liked but those who saw him play in the OHL last season will know that he was a force on the powerplay.  What's a little surprising about his...

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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...