The thing about prospect talk is that it’s generally most interesting when your team is playing its worst hockey.

We don’t talk about prospects because we love the Moose Jaw Warriors, or the Sudbury Wolves, or the Erie Otters — we talk about prospects because we love the Leafs but the Leafs are a bad hockey team.  Well, the Maple Leafs have won two games in two nights so if we’re going to talk prospects, it had better be something groundbreaking, right?

How’s this:  William Nylander is on pace to do something that neither Peter Forsberg, nor Mats Sundin, nor either Sedin has done — score a point per game in the Swedish Hockey League in his draft+1 year.

Nylander has 11 points through 8 games to start the year with MODO and while there’s a lot of season left to go, it’s awfully tough not to be captivated by the promise of the young Swede.  If you start watching this clip at the 1:42 mark, you’ll probably get the sense that Nylander’s shot is already NHL-level.  You’ll also notice that his skating will be an asset when he crosses the pond.  The question with Nylander, as it was with Kadri, will have everything to do with size and strength.  In the pre-season, it was pretty clear that he wasn’t strong enough for the NHL yet and heading back to Sweden where there’s less emphasis on physicality may have been a better decision than asking the slight center to play in the AHL.  Ice time may have been a concern when Nylander was first sent back to MODO, but he’s played over 19-minutes a night to start the year which has put those concerns to bed.  It’s early, but we may be witnessing the beginning of something pretty unprecedented.

Another 2014 draft pick who’s been making some noise is Kootenay Ice defenseman Rinat Valiev.  The Russian defenseman was 2nd among ice defensemen in points last season and has picked up right where he left off with an impressive 8 points in 7 games to start the year in the WHL.  Valiev is leading the Ice defense in scoring despite having played in only 7 of the team’s 19 games to start the year.  Valiev also brings a physical presence that we haven’t seen from many of the Leafs‘ defensive prospects of late — only Loov brings a similar level of nastiness.  There’s a pretty strong chance we see Valiev at the World Junior’s this year and he has been named to the Russian roster in the Subway Super Series, if you’re hoping to get a look at him.

It can’t all be good news, but I’ll let the chart tell the tale of the disappointments thus far, with Gauthier and Verhaeghe’s production being among the leading candidates.

Until next time, folks.

Maple Leafs Prospect Statistics - 2014-15

Last Update: Thursday, April 2.
Name
DraftRoundHeightWeightAgeTeamLeagueGPGAPts+/-SOG
FORWARDS
JAMIE DEVANE200936' 5"21723MarliesAHL39022-419
BRAD ROSS2010 26' 0"17522Marlies
Solar Bears
AHL
ECHL
31
7
4
3
4
3
8
6
0
4
45
17
GREG MCKEGG2010 36' 0"19122MarliesAHL3181018-175
SAM CARRICK201056' 0"18822MarliesAHL3531417-1269
TYLER BIGGS2011 56' 2"20521Marlies
Solar Bears
AHL
ECHL
35
8
2
4
2
2
4
6
-1
1
50
21
JOSH LEIVO2011 36'2"19521MarliesAHL214913356
TONY CAMERANESI2011 55' 9"16221U of Min-DuluthNCAA23613196
DAVID BROLL2011 66' 2"21621Marlies
Solar Bears
AHL
ECHL
21
14
0
1
0
7
0
8
-8
-2
33
30
DOMINIC TONINATO2012 56' 1"16520U of Min-DuluthNCAA241482216
CONNOR BROWN2012 65' 11"16020MarliesAHL431221331084
RYAN RUPERT2012 65' 8"18620Marlies
Solar Bears
AHL
ECHL
25
17
5
5
7
9
12
14
11
7
39
32
FREDERIK GAUTHIER2013 16' 5"21419RimouskiQMJHL2313121522
CARTER VERHAEGHE2013 36' 1"18119NiagaraOHL482033538
FABRICE HERZOG2013 56' 2"17619ZugSwiss NLA376284
ANDREAS JOHNSON2013 75' 10"18319FrolundaSHL431810289
WILLIAM NYLANDER2014 15'1117418Modo
Marlies
SHL
AHL
21
4
8
1
12
1
20
2
3
0
J.J. PICCINICH2014 46'0"19018Boston UNCAA H-East18112-3
DAKOTA JOSHUA2014 56'2"18218Sioux FallsUSHL32111627-6
NOLAN VESEY2014 66'1"19519U of MaineNCAA H East2569151
PIERRE ENGVALL2014 76'3"19018Frolunda J20SuperElit2291423-8
PATRICK WATLINGAHLSigning6'0"17321Marlies
Solar Bears
AHL
ECHL
27
8
2
4
1
4
3
8
2
4
18
11
BRETT FINDLAYAHLSigning6'0"18921Marlies
Solar Bears
AHL
ECHL
13
20
1
9
2
9
3
18
-6
4
14
60
STEFAN DELLA ROVEREAHLSigning5'11"20024Solar BearsECHL259514447
DEFENCEMEN
NAMEDraftRoundHEIGHTWEIGHTAGETeamLeagueGPGAPts+/-SOG
ANDREW MACWILLIAM2008 76'2"22625MarliesAHL391231128
ERIC KNODEL2009 56' 6"21624Marlies
Solar Bears
AHL
ECHL
11
18
0
2
5
2
5
4
0
7
15
20
PETTER GRANBERG2010 46' 3"20022Marlies
Leafs
AHL
NHL
28
3
1
0
6
0
7
0
0
0
15
1
TOM NILSSON2011 46'0"18021MarliesAHL36156227
MATTHEW FINN2012 26' 0"19920MarliesAHL21112-128
VIKTOR LOOV2012 76'3"20022MarliesAHL423912149
RINAT VALIEV2014 36'2"20819KootenayWHL286232915
BLAKE KESSELAHLSigning6'2"21025Marlies
Solar Bears
AHL
ECHL
3
32
0
4
1
11
1
15
1
-8
3
67
GOALIES
NAMEDraftRoundHEIGHTWEIGHTAGETeamLeagueGPIRecordGAASV%SO
CHRISTOPHER GIBSONFASigning6' 1"18822MarliesAHL229-10-02.56.9181
GARRET SPARKS2011 76' 2"20021Marlies
Solar Bears
AHL
ECHL
2
17
1-0-0
9-3-1
1.00
2.71
.966
.929
1
2
ANTOINE BIBEAU2013 66' 3"20720MarliesAHL198-7-02.64.9184

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