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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?
Maple Leaf prospect Matt Frattin is drawing plenty of headlines this summer… but unfortunately, it’s for the wrong reasons. For the second time this summer, the University of North Dakota forward was arrested by local police, and this latest incident resulted in Frattin’s dismissal from the school’s men’s hockey program.
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.
Since taking over the reigns of the Toronto Maple Leafs, Brian Burke identified several glaring weaknesses in his team.Â In several press conferences, he clearly and succinctly described these weaknesses and his intention and plans to amend his product.Â Being one of the more active General Managers, commencing with the NCAA free agent period right through til today, Mr Burke has lived up to the expectations most Leaf fans would have.Â Commencing with the signings of Tyler Bozak and Christian Hanson, followed up with deadline trades to acquire draft picks, drafting London Knights sensation Nazim Kadri, signing key UFA’s specifically addressing his teams needs and the signing of top European goalie Jonas Gustuvvson led to renewed optimism amongst Leaf supporters – not of an imminent Stanley Cup victory, but, rather of a renewed direction and focus, once again bringing hope of a contending Leafs team being iced in the not too distant future.
Coming into this offseason, GM Brian Burke promised to drastically overhaul the Maple Leafs roster, and he knew that the primary asset at his disposal was cap space: lots and lots of it. After handing out long-term contracts to Orr,Â Beauchemin, and Komisarek, he’s got a little under $3 million left to play with in order to add an impact top six forward. In an attempt to minimize the amount of outgoing “talent” via trade, it’s no secret that he’s been trying to corner GM’s of teams that are pressed right up against the cap.
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.Â Â 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.
This is part 1 of a collection of youtube videos that I believe greatly exposes the true talent in the Leafs new system. Each is an individual of a new player coming up in the Leafs organization. This should make the next 60 days a bit more bearable. In this feature, you’ll see some great clips of Tyler Bozak, a bio on Christian Hanson and highlights of the “Swedish Rocket”, Viktor Stalberg.
In just over two weeks, the NHL Entry Draft will be upon us.Â Naturally, speculation as to the future destination of the top prospects is heating up.Â Â With July 1st rapidly approaching, trade rumours (some related to the draft, some not) and free agent speculation are abounding with fury.Â And, of course, possible internal team moves are getting their fair share of play as well.
Here are a few scenarios based on the latest buzz surrounding the Maple Leafs.Â The question is:Â which of these scenarios would you consider, and why?
Hockey’s Future, the renowned hockey prospects website, announced their Spring Organizational Rankings today and the Toronto Maple Leafs found themselves in the bottom tier of the league at #23. The ranking is based on an assessment of a team’s farm system, which takes into account the amount of star power and depth that is likely to be produced. For a team in “rebuilding” mode, that’s not a flattering number to see.
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.
13 goals, 3 tenders, countless defensive errors and ugly goals.Â You almost felt sorry for Curtis Joseph after Jeff Carter cruised in for an easy breakaway goal and the camera panned to a thoroughly annoyed Ron Wilson.Â The Leafs would attempt a comeback of sorts after going down by six goals, but even with the best efforts of Martin Biron, it all went for naught.
There’s the notion that signing Christian Hanson and Tyler Bozak and other College Free Agents allows the Buds to trade off other picks, perhaps even to move up in the draft.
The justification is having signed these free agent Collegians fills roster spots allowing them to maneuver around the draft, possibly even moving up to land a Hedman or Tavares at the number one or two spot.
(My take is forgetting either of them and draft Brampton Battalion forward, Matt Duchene, but thatâ€™s a blog for another day.)
Christian Hanson’s getting ready to make his NHL debut tonight against the Philadelphia Flyers. Tyler Bozak is pretty much signed, sealed and delivered. But according to multiple news outlets, Brian Burke’s just getting warmed up. Next on his list: Boston University’s Matt Gilroy and Northeastern University’s Brad Thiessen.
Courtesy of Sportsnet:
“The Toronto Maple Leafs have won the race to sign highly-touted free agent forward Tyler Bozak from the University of Denver Pioneers, sources tell Sportsnet. A strong two-way centre, Bozak has been generating league-wide interest since his freshman year with as many as 25 NHL teams trying to get his name on a contract.”
The Leafs have finally won something!
As Per Sportsnet.ca
The Toronto Maple Leafs have won the race to sign highly-touted free agent forward Tyler Bozak from the University of Denver Pioneers, sources tell Sportsnet.
The Tyler Bozak “Sweepstakes” are nearly coming to an end and according to Bob Mckenzie, the talented young forward from the University of Denver may make his decision as early as today after much speculation that he was supposed to sign yesterday. Apparently, the 23 year old Regina, Saskatchewan native has narrowed down his list to 3 or 4 teams, with Toronto and Ottawa believed to be among the finalists.
According to Darren Dreger, the Toronto Maple Leafs are closing in on a contract with Notre Dame senior Christian Hanson, son of the legendary Dave Hanson from the cult classic “Slapshot”. This move is just the beginning of what should be a very busy offseason for Brian Burke as he attemps to replenish the Maple Leaf farm system.
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