Saturday, April 18, 2015
Leafs Prospects

Leafs Prospects

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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...

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Back at the rink bright and early….thanks to Google maps for navigating me around the massive traffic congestion on the QEW this morning.  How do people do that on a daily basis?  So wrong. On the ice it was Blue vs. White again with invitee goaltenders Charlie Millen and Christopher Gibson in net for the first period. Again, not a lot of scoring but lots of smart defensive plays (code for "I am not making a mistake in this limited opportunity").    Invitee Matt Bellerive opened the scoring after some pressure and it's 1-0 again for the Blue team.  Matt...

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Welcome back to the Master Card Centre of Excellence! I was pleased to be back watching anything affiliated with the Maple Leafs. I was crushed after Game 7, but it all felt okay being back at the rink on this extremely hot summer day in Toronto. First person I ran into was Henny. Such a nice guy, he immediately came over and asked how things are going before breaking into a nice Leafs discussion. Apparently Leafs TV has compiled some great Prospect information and video that will be out soon, so keep your eyes open for it. ...

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I will be conducting my annual interview with Maple Leafs Director of Amateur Scouting Dave Morrison later this afternoon. Please post any suggested questions in the comments below.  Thanks.

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The CHL Playoffs are just getting underway -- unfortunately for most of the Leafs' prospects, they're also wrapping up. Tyler Biggs and the Oshawa Generals had their season come to an end Tuesday night as they looked completely overmatched by the Barrie Colts.  Biggs had a pretty lacklustre playoffs offensively, putting up just one assist (shorthanded) in 9 games and his chances tended to come in spurts throughout.  To an extent, he was snakebitten; getting robbed on the doorstep several times, particularly against the Colts, but he really didn't seem to get many chances above the crease during the playoffs. ...

Brian Burke / Tyler Biggs / Dave Morrison

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Earlier this week, the Leafs director of amateur scouting, Dave Morrison, took some time out of his schedule to talk to me. We ended up speaking for nearly an hour and we went over so much that I decided to break it down by section and quote him where appropriate. So with that, please do not misconstrue anything said below and contact me for clarification if you are unsure about anything. With all that out of the way, here are the highlights from our chat:   On the Leafs scouting system: I asked Morrison about the Leafs 13 listed amateur scouts on their website,...

Morgan Rielly

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From Matt Iaboni at MapleLeafs.com: "Maple Leafs 2012 first round pick Morgan Rielly was named the WHL Eastern Conference Defenceman Of The Year and he was named to the WHL Eastern Conference First All-Star team on Wednesday. Rielly finished his third WHL season with 54 points (12 goals, 42 assists) in 60 games. While Rielly’s season with the Moose Jaw Warriors has come to an end, he will be joining the Toronto Marlies this week to get his feet wet in the pro game. The offensive blueliner also played for Team Canada at the World Junior Championships where he had three points in...

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It's playoff time in the CHL. To the surprise of nobody who follows me on Twitter or reads this column with any regularity, Morgan Rielly and the Moose Jaw Warriors are on the outside looking in.  If I were a lesser man, I'd gloat about how I predicted this outcome when Moose Jaw was sitting 5th in the WHL's Eastern Conference and I'd definitely rub it in the face of all the people who called me an idiot or worse -- if I were a lesser man. What this means for Rielly is that he'll be joining the Marlies on Wednesday and...

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Welcome to the Playoffs, Awards, and Injury Ward edition of the Leafs Prospect Update! Starting with the bad news, Erie Captain and surprise statistical standout Connor Brown suffered a head injury (read: concussion) against London on the 18th and missed this weekend's games.  Erie is well out of the playoff mix and I wouldn't be surprised to see Brown sit out the rest of the year to recover -- it's probably what's best for him in the long run. On a positive note, Matt Finn is expected to make his long awaited return to the Guelph this weekend after missing his...

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If Tyler Biggs were Russian, he'd be considered an enigma.  Biggs has been taken off of Oshawa's top powerplay unit (though he remains on their top line at even strength) and his production has been on and off ever since.  Biggs picked up an assist tonight -- and a number of scoring chances -- but prior to tonight's game he had been on a goals-or-nothing streak.  Biggs' last five games registered as follows: 2 goals, no points, 1 goal, no points, 2 goals.  He still isn't much of a passer, nor is he any more comfortable carrying the puck....

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After being away from his teammates for both the World Junior Championships and the Leafs' pre-season camp, Morgan Rielly returned to Moose Jaw and the Warriors returned to the win column for the first time since his departure. In three games this weekend, Rielly picked up three assists and Moose Jaw was able to score a pair of wins.  For those of you hoping, as I am, for Rielly to join the Marlies in the AHL playoffs, don't fret; the Warriors are still 10 points behind 8th place Saskatoon who also have 3 games in hand on Moose Jaw.  The...

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The resolution to the NHL lockout combined with the commencement of the second half of the CHL season has predictably stirred up some player movement in the NHL's development leagues. As far as Leaf property, third round pick in 2011 Josh Leivo was traded to the Kitchener Rangers in a deal that saw the Sudbury Wolves move their top forward in Leivo, top defenceman in Frankie Corrado and starting goaltender Joel Vienneau in one swoop. Leivo makes the move from a lacklustre Sudbury team to a Kitchener Rangers squad that has won despite struggling to score goals. Kitchener added...

Rupert Ryan

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After the jump, notes and stats tables for last Leafs prospect update of 2012. Guelph’s Matt Finn has eight points in his last five games, including goals in three straight between December 8 and 15. Finn recorded a three-assist night against Belleville on December 28. London’s Ryan Rupert now has 13 points (4 goals, 9 assists) in 10 games in the month of December after going a month and a half without recording a point between October 6 and November 30. He has a five-game point streak active, including four straight multi-point nights. Showing no signs of slowing down: Erie’s Connor Brown...