Leafs Prospects

Leafs Prospects

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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...

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At this point in time, it is probably fair to call Morgan Rielly the most hyped Leafs prospect since Wendel Clark. I don't know whether or not that's fair, but with great hype comes great expectations. To this point, Rielly hasn’t done anything to really quash the excitement that is building for him. He’s scored electric goals, he’s played well for Canada in the past, and now he’s on the World Juniors team. In essence, Rielly is following the path of many elite defensemen before him. With that in mind, I collected some stats on how players he’s been compared to...

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Welcome back, Josh Leivo. After missing time with a concussion, Leivo returned to the Sudbury Wolves lineup last week and he did so with a vengeance.  The Wolves had 3 games in 3 nights this weekend and Leivo put up 2 goals and 5 assists.  Leivo now has 34 points in 29 games on a pretty weak Sudbury team. Leivo is cut from the powerforward cloth and unlike the Leafs' other powerforward prospect, Tyler Biggs, Leivo will play with the puck on his stick.  My opinion on Leivo would be that his ceiling is higher than Biggs' but that he's also...

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With World Junior selection camps getting under way this week, a handful of Leafs prospects will be leaving their CHL teams to join up with their national all-star teams.  If you'd like a quick breakdown on the Leafs prospects who will be involved in the World Junior Championships, here's a short post I put together over at Pension Plan Puppets.  This natural break in the schedule seems like as good a time as any to check in with where our kids are sitting among their peers at this stage of the season. The Leafs have two prospects who I would...

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The Marlies broke their three-game losing streak with a 4-1 win in Rochester last night. Matt Frattin continues to score pretty much every game since returning from injury, notching two last night including the game winner, his sixth and seventh in six games so far this season. Jerry D'Amigo and Carter Ashton rounded out the scoring. Ben Scrivens stopped 28 of 29 shots. The Marlies face the Amerks again back at home tonight at 7 p.m. EST. You can catch the game on Sportsnet One. In OHL action, Tyler Biggs scored for Oshawa in a 4-2 win over Kingston, taking his...

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A slow start to the AHL year was probably the last thing Nazem Kadri needed. Kadri is the most polarizing Leafs prospect in recent memory and at 22 has yet to stick as an NHL regular.  After spending the tail end of the summer training with fitness guru Gary Roberts, Kadri came to camp only to have his fitness criticized by head coach Dallas Eakins.  Cue the fan unrest. Through nine games, Kadri had put up a very pedestrian 3 points (0G, 3A) and found himself on the healthy scratch list. The 'Bust' set were starting to get loud again. One week...

Tyler Biggs

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LeafsTV continue with their mini-documentary on two Leaf prospects: Tyler Biggs of the Oshawa Generals and Stuart Percy of the Mississauga Steelheads. Enjoy. [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vwVvXoeffO0&w=560&h=315]

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For most of the Leafs CHL prospects, this was a pretty lacklustre week. Tyler Biggs picked up a pair of assists in Friday's game but was held pointless in a pair of losses on Saturday and Sunday.  David Broll had a 3-point weekend with 2 goals and 1 assist.  Rielly plays an afternoon game tomorrow and after 1 assist in his last 3 games, he'll have to put up some crooked numbers for his weekly production to be in any way noteworthy -- though his play was, as always, solid. While the group-wide production was uninspiring, there's still plenty to talk...

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Forget all that I've said about Tyler Biggs to date because he's decided that he's a completely different player.  It's almost as though he read what I wrote in this space a week ago.  In 3 games last week, Biggs wasn't rushing with the puck on his stick, he parked himself inches from the goalie's face when setting his screens, and generally just asserted his will on the game in a way that I had rarely seen in the first 15 games of the year. Well, Biggs was rewarded with 6 points in 3 games including a 4-point effort in Sunday's...