Leafs Prospects

Leafs Prospects

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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...

Jim Hughes

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Alec Brownscombe caught up with Director of Player Development Jim Hughes to touch base on the performances and progress of the younger members of the Leaf organization after the completion of 2013 training camp. Alec Brownscombe: If you can make a general comment, were you happy with the training camp - dating back to the rookie tourney - in terms of what you saw on display from the younger members of the organization? Jim Hughes: Yeah, I think we’re all really happy with the forward transition from the prospect camp, to the rookie camp, to the NHL camp. We’re all happy...

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The Leafs wrapped up what was a pretty good weekend by imploding in the third period and losing handily, but that doesn’t take away from some of the positives that were shown overall. There were some youngsters who had good weekends, others who had very good weekends, and a few who struggled. In other news, the Leafs also have a new player coming to training camp in Mason Raymond. You know hockey is back when there are actual relevant games and players to talk about all of a sudden. Here are some scattered thoughts on the weekend that was: -...

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Welcome to the Battle of Ontario edition of our Rookie Tournament coverage. As we all know, Ottawa sucks and while I have no idea who will dress for the Baby Leafs tonight at this point, I can't imagine that we'll have any problem walking all over them; their parents probably won't even watch out of shame and embarrassment. The Leafs have won both of their games in the tourney so far and the players who you'd expect to standout have done just that.  Brad Ross, Morgan Rielly, Stuart Percy, Petter Granberg, and Josh Leivo (before his injury) have all been great and Zach Yuen turned a...

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So with Rielly, Leivo, MacWilliam, McKegg, and Sparks all sitting this game out and Finn leaving mysteriously after a period of play, you might have guessed that this would be a tough one for the Leafs rookies but you'd be wrong. Stuart Percy was the best player on the ice, and Brad Ross was the best forward for either team pacing the Leafs to a 4-3 shootout win over a Penguins team with no competent forwards. Zachary Yuen was probably the game's biggest surprise.  He had a solid game in every respect and almost certainly opened some eyes with his performance...

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Here we go again. With Brian Burke back in the news, it's fitting that his greatest contribution to the Maple Leafs -- a rebuilt farm system -- take center stage in the days leading up to actual meaningful hockey.  The Baby Leafs have a gold-plated defense group and a forward contingent that breaks down fairly nicely into scoring lines and checking lines; the lines should pretty much roll themselves. With players like Morgan Rielly trying to make an impact prior to the start of Leafs camp, and guys like Leivo, Biggs, and Percy looking to solidify key roles with the Marlies, the...

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The Leafs’ rookies took the tournament opener as a result of their energy, skill, and goaltending. They outpaced a Chicago group that was forced to rely more on physicality to gain ground. They caught the Leafs temporarily, but in the end Toronto came away with a win they probably deserved as Morgan Rielly and Tyler Biggs converted in the shootout to secure a 3-2 Leaf victory. A few meaningful observations may be gleaned from the three-game sample after the weekend, but keep in mind that one sloppy game featuring thrown-together lineups is, well, just one sloppy game featuring thrown-together lineups....

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HOCKEY. The Maple Leafs' annual Rookie Tournament is upon us. Toronto hosts Chicago Jr. tonight at the Budweiser Gardens in London, Ontario. Toronto Maple Leafs new and 'not-so-old' will have a chance to display their talents for the Maple Leafs Brass in what should be an entertaining tilt of careful pre-pre-season stepping and spirited verbal jousting. For all your basic rookie tournament info needs, the Leafs' official website pretty much has you covered. View the roster and schedule breakdown. Read the primer for tonight's game, which includes broadcast details. Or watch an interview with Marlies coach Steve Spott in which he talks...

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MLHS' Anthony Petrielli chatted with Garth Malarchuk, amateur scout for the Maple Leafs, earlier this week. Topics covered include the ins and outs of his job, Frederik Gauthier, Morgan Rielly, and a little on Tyler Bozak. Anthony Petrielli: What are your specific job duties as an amateur scout of the Maple Leafs? Garth Malarchuk: My priorities include the Western Hockey League (WHL) and the Western Canadian Jr. A teams along with “cross over” viewings of the identified prospects from the QMJHL, the OHL, US Colleges & High Schools, and the top end players on the European teams. It's a heavy...

Jim Hughes

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MLHS' Alec Brownscombe caught up with Leafs Director of Player Development Jim Hughes this morning to talk about some of the younger Maple Leafs. While much of the Leafs scouting staff heads to Bratislava next week for the Ivan Hlinka U18 tournament, Hughes will be taking in the World Junior exhibition games in Lake Placid. Dominic Toninato will participating for Team USA while Ryan Rupert, Matt Finn, Morgan Rielly and Frederik Gauthier will be playing for Canada. Alec Brownscombe: What does the job of Director of Player of Development involve on a day to day basis? Jim Hughes: My job...

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I had the pleasure of chatting with Dave Morrison yesterday on behalf of MLHS.  The Director of Amateur Scouting for the Leafs, Morrison is an intelligent hockey mind that provides direct insight and analysis on the prospects and general state of affairs in the Toronto Maple Leafs organization.  We covered topics including recent draft picks, organizational depth, up and coming prospects and Nazem Kadri.   Nikhil Daljeet: Let’s start with your thoughts on the progression of the farm system as a whole. Dave  Morrison: Well obviously I am happy with the way things are going.  I think as an organization we’ve...