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dale mitchell

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    Earlier this week, I was able to catch up with a few Leafs at Lakeshore Lions Arena. I’ve gone a few times already this August, and the closer we get to the opening of camp, more and more players are showing up. Notable attendants have included Finger, Tlusty, Bozak, Hamilton, both Mitchells, Schenn, The Monster, Toskala, Mayers, Poni, Stajan and Oreskovic. More than likely, some players were missing due to Olympic camp tryouts and practices.

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      Author: B Leaf

      Last season, the Leafs were 10th in scoring (244) and 9th in shots on goal (2,603). There is no major reason why that number should drop other than the loss of Antropov. There are other players who should have better years and help fill his ice time with similar results. On the powerplay, the Leafs were middle of the road at 16th. The Leafs were a respectable 17th in shots allowed (2481), but were a league worst in goals against (286). The PK% was also a league worst. Not all the blame can be placed on the goaltending, but a lot of it can. The collective save percentage for the team was an abysmal .885%.

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        Notable Leaf participants in the tournament running from September 6th-7th at the Kitchener Memorial Auditorium will include Tyler Bozak, Viktor Stalberg, Mikhail Stefanovich, Nazem Kadri, Dale Mitchell, Jonas Gustavsson and Jesse Blacker. Of the Leafs 2009 draft class, Jamie Devane and Barron Smith are also a part of the squad to be overseen by new Marlies head coach Dallas Eakins and his staff. Having attended the last three rookie tourneys, this Leafs’ roster is by far their most exciting entry yet. Check out the roster list after the jump courtesy of MapleLeafs.com:

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          Aside from the occasional hardcore junior hockey followers, the majority of NHL fans will track the progress of their team’s top young prospects through highlight clips or boxscores. For the most part, the development and potential NHL impact of a young player then becomes a function of the amount of goals and assists they record at that level. I mean heck, it’s hard for Islanders fans to look at the 356 points that John Tavares has scored over the past 3 seasons in the OHL without getting excited. And rightfully so. All indications are that he’s going to be a very special player for a long, long time.

          On the flip side, you’ve also got the purists who value a keen scouting eye to judge traits such as leadership ability, instincts, emotional drive, among other skills that cannot be represented numerically. Back in March, when news spread of Tavares breaking the all-time OHL goal scoring record held by Peter Lee, the first reaction by many was “Who the heck is Peter Lee?” Just some guy who scored 81 goals and 161 points in his last junior season is all… Well, point taken. Stats and numbers don’t mean everything, but the question is: how much DO they mean?

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            As a reminder/lesson as to what the prospect grades indicate: the number represents a player’s traditional realistic potential ability on a scale of 1-10 with ten being “generational talent” and one being “borderline minor league player.” The letter (A-F) represents the prospect’s realistic chances of achieving their number-rated potential, with A being “all but guaranteed to reach potential” and F being “possess very little potential.” In the Leafs’ ranks, Nazem Kadri tops out the rankings (with Schenn now considered graduated) as an 8.0C, meaning he’s a “first line forward” that “may reach potential, but could drop two ratings.” Jonas Gustavsson is ranked second in the Leaf ranks as a 7.5B, meaning he’s half way between a “journeyman No. 1 goaltender” and flat out “No. 1 goaltender,” with the realistic probability of reaching his traditional potential “likely” with the possibility of dropping one rating. Ranked third is Mikhail Stefanovich at 7.5C, which essentially means he’s somewhere in between first and second line potential, with the possibility that he could drop as far as two ratings.

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              Last week, the Toronto Maple Leafs held their prospect development camp to gauge the progress and future outlook of both prospects within the organization, and unsigned players on the team’s radar.

              The camp, which ran from July 5th to July 10th, featured six full days of on-ice practice activities and off-ice seminars ranging from nutrition to lifestyle to the business of the NHL.   It provided an opportunity for the players to get to know their possible future teammates, as well as the chance showcase their abilities to the team’s player development personnel.

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                The Toronto Maple Leafs’ first draft under the watchul eye of Brian Burke displayed a stark change in the team’s draft philosophy. The scouting staff searched for the type of players and attributes that would be able to fit into the mold of a tough, physical checking style of game that the Leafs hope to play several years down the road. As a result, we saw a lot more emphasis placed on size and toughness than skill and speed. Not surprisingly, all of Toronto’s seven selections were from the North American ranks, four of them from the Ontario Hockey League and three from American hockey programs.

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                  Two contrasts in Leafs prospects from the Memorial Cup with Chris Didomenico breaking his left femur, and the continued development of Dale Mitchell.

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                    Let’s take a break from the rumour mill, and have a look at where the Toronto Maple Leafs roster currently stands.

                    With the draft a little over a month away, and free agency beginning shortly thereafter, it’s time to take a look at the current Maple Leafs’ roster, who is and is not under contract for next season, and the resultant depth at each position.

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                      Add International Scouting Services to the list of scouting organizations that are starting to put together the Matt Duchene bandwagon. In their latest rankings, following a the shocker from Redline report, ISS has followed suit and finally shuffled the top 2 of the draft. Unlike Redline, Tavares remains at #1, but ISS now has Duchene at #2 and Hedman at #3. Looks like the “Big Two” just became the “Big Three”.

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                        Even though the Maple Leafs season is officially over, it doesn’t mean that there’s no playoff hockey here in Toronto. The Marlies just started their Round 1 series of the AHL playoffs last night against the #1 ranked Manitoba Moose.

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                          Garrett Bauman has wrapped up his “Getting to Know You” series for the ’08/’09 season. For those who may have missed a post or are interested in re-reading some of these insightful pieces, here’s a cumulative list of this season’s series:

                          Garrett will be resuming the feature next fall. For future reference, the list can be found under the “Prospect Files” page of the website. They’re certainly recommended, relevant reads.

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                            Editted **
                            What? You were expecting Sidney Crosby or Alex Ovechkin to top the leading scorers in March? Well then. You’d be wrong … sort of. AO actually was tied at the top with another player.

                            Yes, Sid the Kid (11-6-12-18) ranked near the top of the list, tied with Ottawa’s Jason Spezza (14-8-10-18). Meanwhile, the Great 8, (12-8-11-19) scored two more than Sid, and two more than the NHL scoring leader for the month of March.

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                              Pretty darn close. Dale Mitchell is turning heads in the OHL, and it’s not just because of his speed, it’s because of his stats, albeit he is playing with Taylor Hall. Dale was drafted in the third round, 74th overall, of the 2007 NHL entry draft – the same year Chris DiDomenico was drafted, so all in all it was a pretty decent draft year despite trading the 1st and 2nd round picks to SJS for Toskala. At the time, Mitchell posted an 80 point season (43G 37A) but was considered to be too small, even by today’s NHL standards (5’9” 180lbs).

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                                Hey folks, Alec’s traditionally done this in the past, but I’ll be taking over for this one as he’s been bogged down with work lately. With the way the Leafs have played over the past few years, we find ourselves looking forward to the future, hoping that there’s help on the horizon. Well let’s take a gander at what the Toronto Maple Leafs are cultivating down on the farm:

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                                  #9 – RW Jimmy Hayes, 18, Boston College (NCAA)

                                  Drafted: 2nd round, 60th overall in 2008

                                  Strengths: Superb size and strength (6’5 210 lbs). Good skater for a player his size. High end offensive talent with quick hands around the net. Can be a very intimidating presence along the boards and in front of the net. Tons and tons and tons of potential.

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                                    Dale Mitchell was picked in the 3rd round of the 2007 NHL Entry Draft, 74th overall. At the time of the selection, Mitchell garnered plenty of interest and pressure from the fans and media as the Leafs’ first pick that year. They had traded away their 1st and 2nd round picks to San Jose as part of the Vesa Toskala trade earlier that day. A little over a year later, Mitchell has quickly been forgotten, partly from a disappointing OHL season, and partly from the emergence of his fellow draftmate Chris Didomenico, selected in the 6th round.