Prospect Ranking

Toronto Maple Leaf Prospect Ranking

Updated October 2016  (Start of Season Edition)

1. Auston Matthews (Center) 6’2, 210, Shoots- L

  • DOB: September 17th, 1997
  • Acquired-Drafted 1st overall in 2016 from Zurich SC (Swiss-A)
  • Current Team- Toronto Maple Leafs
  • The Good- He’s the real deal. A complete centre who can do it all. Is an excellent goal scorer due to his wicked release. He can control the puck for long stretches of play and set up goals. He skates very well and has the size and strength that will make it difficult for teams to push him around or intimidate him. Also is competitive and brings a strong, quiet leadership to the team.
  • What’s holding him back- His overall offensive ability may be a notch behind some of the elite centres in the league he’ll be compared to and matched up against. The small details in his game such as face offs and defensive zone assignments are unproven and will need to be tested at the highest level.
  • Summary- He already has plenty of experience playing against men. He proved himself last year while playing in Switzerland’s top league, looked very strong for the U.S. team at the World Championships and dominated alongside Connor McDavid for team North America at the World Cup.
  • Projection- Matthews is a sure fire NHL player. At the least he should be a consistent two-way centre who can play on pretty well anybody’s top two lines. He has the ability to be an elite centre though.
  • ETA- Start of 2016-2017. Made the team out of training camp and he’ll be there to stay.

2. Mitch Marner (Winger/Center) 5’11, 179, Shoots- R

  • DOB: May 5, 1997
  • Acquired-Drafted 4th overall in 2015 from the London Knights (OHL)
  • Current Team- Toronto Maple Leafs
  • The Good- Has as much offensive skill as almost anybody. He’s an elite playmaker with an underrated shot and goal scoring ability. Has the ability to make highlight reel plays game after game. Back checks hard and has a knack for being a bit of pest.
  • What’s holding him back- He’ll never be the biggest guy on the ice but his strength needs to improve to play at the next level. Still needs more consistency with his compete level when he doesn’t have the puck. Has the ability to play centre but rarely has over the last few seasons.
  • Summary- Had an extremely successful season in the OHL winning; the OHL championship, OHL playoff MVP, Memorial Cup championship and Memorial Cup MVP. He did come short of winning gold at the World Junior championship though which is the only blemish on his 2016 resume.
  • Projection- Has the potential to be an elite scoring winger in the NHL who could one day finish in the top 10 league scorers. Worst case scenario he’s a good second line winger who contributes on the power play.
  • ETA- Start of 2016-2017. Made the team out of training camp and indications are that they expecting him to stay with the Leafs for the entire season.

3. William Nylander (Center/Winger) 5’11, 195, Shoots- R

  • DOB: May 1, 1996
  • Acquired-Drafted 7th overall in 2014 from Modo Hockey Ornskoldsvik (SHL)
  • Current Team- Toronto Maple Leafs
  • The Good- Has adjusted quite well to AHL hockey at a very young age. Has dominated the competition at times despite still being a teenager. Is extremely offensively gifted and can play a strong all-round game. Answered any questions about his ability to play centre at the North American pro level.
  • What’s holding him back- The Leafs have shown an abundance of patience with him by keeping him with the Marlies while he was dominating early in the season. A concussion at the World Junior Tournament slowed him down but he eventually rebounded well with some strong performances late in the year with the Leafs. Has struggled at times with his consistency- especially later in the year. Doesn’t always bring his A game. Shies away from the physical aspect of the game.
  • Summary- Early in the year he would have been considered an absolute lock to start 2016 with the Maple Leafs. And he probably still will. But some inconsistency throughout the second half of the year and a playoff run that was just okay has at least opened the door to him starting with the Marlies again next year. He’ll need to come to camp determined to make the jump. He should be a productive scorer in the NHL for a lot of years.
  • Projection- If he plays centre at the NHL level, the best case scenario is he’s a top flight second line centre on a good team. If he’s a winger he could play on a top line and complement an elite centre well. At worst he’ll be a consistent scoring winger who can play in your top six.
  • ETA- Start of 2016-2017. Made the team out of training camp. If he suffers from inconsistency they won’t hesitate to send him back to the AHL but that would seem unlikely.

4. Nikita Zaitsev (Defence) 6’1, 205, Shoots- R

  • DOB: October 29, 1991
  • Acquired-Signed as a free agent in 2016 CSKA Moscow (KHL)
  • Current Team- Toronto Maple Leafs
  • The Good- A right handed shot defenceman that skates well and can carry the puck up the ice with ease. Has a cannon for a shot which makes him deadly on the power play. Plays a strong all-round game and is a decent open ice hitter.
  • What’s holding him back- From an offensive standpoint his passing and playmaking ability do not quite match what he can bring with his shot. Has played in the KHL the last few seasons so how his all-round game translates to professional North American hockey still remains to be seen.
  • Summary- Looks to definitely have the mobility, offensive ability and grit to contribute in the NHL. How his the rest of his game translates will be the determining factor as to how good he’ll be. Still a wildcard- hard to know exactly what the Leafs have until they see him in North America. He’s a much needed right hand shot which will give him a definite advantage over his competition.
  • Projection- If everything goes his way he might be able to be a shooter on a first power play unit in the NHL while still playing some tough minutes. If he doesn’t adapt though he could find himself back in Europe in a few years. The expectation would be that he at least manages to carve out some decent NHL seasons.
  • ETA- Start of 2016-2017. Made the team out of training camp and looks NHL ready

5. Kasperi Kapanen (Winger) 5’11, 180, Shoots- R

  • DOB: July 23rd, 1996
  • Acquired- Trade with Pittsburgh Penguins 2015
  • Current Team- Toronto Marlies (AHL)
  • The Good- Is a good all-round player that can do a little bit of everything. Is quick, skilled with the puck and strong on his skates. Can work the boards and is not bad in the corners and on the cycle. Is intelligent and can generally be relied on in most situations.
  • What’s holding him back- Doesn’t have a dominant skill that you can say definitely stands out from the pack. Consistency is still an issue.
  • Summary- Is still very young and has performed well in the AHL despite being at least a year younger than the vast majority of his peers. He looked overmatched for most of his NHL stint but he still has lots of time. Still too early to reliably say what he’s going to bring at the NHL level for an offensive game. He’ll  have to find a niche if he wants to stick in the NHL long term. Expect him to start 2016 with the Marlies. Saw his stock rise in a big way throughout the Marlie’s playoff run.
  • Projection- He’s not going to be a star but he’s a pretty safe bet to have a reasonably long NHL career. Still has the upside to be a good all-round, second line winger who can compliment other players well. At worst he’ll manage to stick around the league as a journeyman bottom six winger.
  • ETA- Mid 2017-2018. Will likely have some call-ups before then.

6. Andrew Neilsen (Defence) 6’3, 207, Shoots- L

  • DOB: November 13th, 1996
  • Acquired-Drafted 65th overally in 2015
  • Current Team- Toronto Marlies (AHL)
  • The Good- Offensively minded defenceman with a physical presence. He’s tough, strong and combines a bit of a mean streak with some nice offensive ability. Has a good shot from the point and has shown the ability to play the power play and contribute in all situations.
  • What’s holding him back- Not a particularly quick or mobile player. Is not a great puck carrier for an offensive minded defenceman.
  • Summary- He’s as much of a wild card as the Leafs have. Hard to know exactly what they have with Neilsen. He’s a late bloomer that wasn’t on a lot of radars prior to this season. Was a nice surprise as he had a phenomenal Major Junior season but still doesn’t get respect as he was left off the WHL’s contingent in the Russian series and also received virtually no consideration for Canada’s World Junior team. He could start 2016 with the Marlies but the ECHL is a possibility. Watching how he transitions to the pro game in the early stages of 2016 will be key to projecting his future worth. If he has a smooth transition he has the potential to rocket up the Leafs depth chart in a hurry.
  • Projection- If everything goes his way he has the upside to maybe be a third pairing power play specialist who can play with an edge. But that’s not likely and should not be expected. He could just as likely fizzle right out of the organization in a couple years. Has as much of a gap in his projection as any Leaf prospect.
  • ETA- Mid 2017-2018. Wasn’t a true threat to make the team this year but he looked very confident in the rookie tournament and preseason.

7. Connor Brown (Winger) 5’11, 170, Shoots- R

  • DOB: January 14th, 1994
  • Acquired- Drafted 156th overall in 2012 from Erie Otters (OHL)
  • Current Team- Toronto Maple Leafs (NHL)
  • The Good- Is a consistent point producer who has had success at every level he’s played at. Is equally comfortable scoring goals or setting them up. Plays an intelligent game and uses his smarts to his advantage.
  • What’s holding him back- He doesn’t have dynamic offensive skill and isn’t super quick either. Is still somewhat one-dimensional. If he doesn’t score he doesn’t really have another niche to fill. Missed a big chunk of time last season due to injury.
  • Summary- He might have seen a bit more time with the big club this year if he hadn’t been injured. Had a slow start to his season but finished up well. Looked excellent in his audition with the Leafs- so good they had to cut it short so he wouldn’t help propel them out of last place. Will need to produce very well to stay in the NHL over the long term.
  • Projection- Has the upside to be a consistent, point producing top six winger who hangs around the league for a long time. If he can’t score consistently in the NHL though he’ll be back in the AHL where he’d be a star.
  • ETA- Start of 2016-2017. Made the team out of training camp but still could see some AHL time this year if he struggles with consistency.

8. Zach Hyman (Winger) 6’01, 205, Shoots-R

  • DOB: June 9, 1992
  • Acquired-Trade with Florida Panthers (2015)
  • Current Team- Toronto Maple Leafs (NHL)
  • The Good- He’s a buzz saw on the ice. Plays with some grit and his energy can drive opponents crazy. Very reliable player who can play up and down a lineup in any situation. Strong penalty killer. Has enough skill to play with good players or help chip in with some offence in a bottom six role.
  • What’s holding him back- He needs to bring more nastiness to the ice to play the role he does. Sometimes his game is a little too quiet. Probably won’t ever be a significant scoring threat.
  • Summary- Looked great during his audition with the Leafs at the end of the season and quickly became a favourite of coach Babcock. If he plays that way consistently he’s a future NHLer for sure. Whether he can maintain that energy level over a full 82 game season remains to be seen though. When his energy level dips so does his usefulness.
  • Projection- Has shown the ability to be a bottom six energy winger who can chip in on offence and the PK. But he’s not a sure thing. Might max out as an excellent minor leaguer.
  • ETA- Start 2016-2017. Made the team out of training camp and it seems as though Leafs management views him as an NHLer at this point.

 9. Nikita Soshnikov (Winger) 6’1, 205, Shoots- L

  • DOB: October 14th, 1993
  • Acquired-Signed as a free agent in 2015 from Moscow Oblast Atlant (KHL)
  • Current Team- Toronto Marlies (AHL)
  • The Good- Has an elite, NHL calibre shot and some natural scoring ability to go along with it. He’s fast, aggressive and high energy. Loves to throw his body around with reckless abandon and get under the opponents skin. Can use his speed and jam to kill penalties.
  • What’s holding him back- Doesn’t have a ton of hockey sense to go along with his skill and his playmaking is just average. Tries to do too much by himself sometimes. His positioning away from the puck is still very much a work in progress.
  • Summary- Looked great in a short stint with the big team at the end of the year. His play with the Leafs elevated his status from middling prospect to one of the Leafs best. However despite the raised expectations for Soshnikov, his AHL performance has only been good (not great) which should serve to temper expectations a bit. At his age and with his skill he should be close to dominating the AHL.
  • Projection- Has the ability to be a consistent 15-25 goal scorer who can also contribute on the PK but he may never get to that level. At the least he should be able to hang around the NHL for a few years.
  • ETA- Mid 2016-2017. His training camp was a write-off due to some injury troubles and he has start at square one and make an impression again with the Marlies this season.

10. Brendan Leipsic (Winger, Center) 5’09, 170, Shoots- L

  • DOB: May 19th, 1994
  • Acquired-Trade With Nashville Predators in 2015
  • Current Team- Toronto Marlies (AHL)
  • The Good- Skilled forward with quite a bit of abrasiveness to his game. Can skate well and handle the puck. Gets in on the forecheck and causes havoc. Is mean, hits hard and gets under people’s skin.
  • What’s holding him back- He’s a bit of a tweener. Might not have enough offensive skill to be a true scoring threat meanwhile his defensive game and play without the puck needs more polish. Has to find a niche. Needs to play smarter at times.
  • Summary- He has a good chance of being an NHL player. Going into his third pro season next year he should be expected to be a leader and top player on the Marlies before he gets a call up. He looked pretty good in his short stint with the Leafs at the end of the year but didn’t get as many games as some of the other prospects so you have to wonder how much the management team views him as part of the future.
  • Projection-If he takes the step forward this season that he should he has a good chance of being a regular NHL player for a few years. Has played some centre in the past but probably would fit in best as a third line winger who can score a bit and provide some jam. At worst he’ll be a very strong AHL player who’ll get some call ups every now and then.
  • ETA- Mid 2016-2017. If he proves to be a leader on the Marlies this year he should get a mid-season call up. If he starts slow or has a disappointing season he might have to wait until training camp of 2017 to try to push himself onto an NHL team.

11. Travis Dermott (Defence) 5’11, 207 Shoots-L

  • DOB: December 22, 1996
  • Acquired- Drafted 34th overall from Erie Otters
  • Current Team- Toronto Marlies (AHL)
  • The Good- A mobile, strong skating defenceman and a jack of all trades. Brings a little bit of everything to back end. Is a smart, consistent and reliable performer.
  • What’s holding him back- Does not dominate in any particular area of the game. Needs to improve his strength to play the pro game.
  • Summary- Had a consistent performance with the Otters last year. He didn’t take the big leap forward the Leafs might have been quietly hoping for, but there is still lots to be encouraged about. Was a solid but unspectacular contributor to Canada’s World Junior team.
  • Projection- If he works out he could be a top four defeceman capable of playing a secondary role on both special teams. He’ll get his chances eventually but he’s not a lock to be an NHL player.
  • ETA- Mid 2019-2020. He still has a lot of development ahead of him. He could make his NHL debut as early as next season but, if he’s going to become a regular, it’s likely years down the road.

12. Fredrick Gauthier (Centre) 6’05, 215, Shoots- L

  • DOB: April 26th, 1995
  • Acquired-Drafted 21st overall in 2013
  • Current Team- Toronto Marlies (AHL)
  • The Good- Coaches love him. He does all the little things right. Wins faceoffs, kills penalties, is strong positionally and makes smart decisions with the puck. He’s strong and uses his size well. Has the ability to shut guys down.
  • What’s holding him back- He’s not very quick and not very productive. Has struggled with his offensive game at both the junior and minor pro level.
  • Summary- There aren’t many successful NHL forwards- even defensively minded ones- that weren’t productive scorers in the junior and AHL ranks. However if there’s a player that could break the mould it might be him. He seems to always find a way to contribute and play an important role on successful teams (even internationally) despite not being a super productive player. He’ll be expected to hone his craft with the Marlies for a while longer. He needs to become an elite, stalwart checking centre at the AHL level. If he can develop his offensive game at all that will be a bonus.
  • Projection- Has an outside chance to be a third line checking centre in the NHL but if he makes it he’ll more likely be a valuable fourth line faceoff and penalty killing specialist. He needs to improve every year though. If he doesn’t take some big steps forward he might find himself out of hockey in a few years.
  • ETA- Mid 2017-2018. Already had a callup last season but that was only because the Leafs were a last place team. He didn’t look ready. He might get a few more callups here or there but don’t expect him to stick with the team permanently before the 2017-18 season at the earliest.

13. Rinat Valiev (Defence) 6’2, 208, Shoots- L

  • DOB: May 11, 1995
  • Acquired-Drafted 68th overall in 2014
  • Current Team- Toronto Marlies (AHL)
  • The Good- Mobile defenceman who plays with enthusiasm and energy. He can skate and has some decent offensive instincts. Is capable of playing a strong all-round game. He’s pretty tough too.
  • What’s holding him back- He’s still fairly raw and hasn’t quite figured out how to put everything together. Needs to be more consistently reliable and prove himself against some tougher assignments and better competition.
  • Summary- Adapted well to the AHL in his first season and turned himself into a legitimate prospect. Impressed enough to be one of the many players to get a late season call up. Still needs to polish out the rough edges of his game before he can be projected to make a significant NHL impact.
  • Projection- He’s shown enough that he’s on the Leafs radar for the future. He should get some more chances down the road but at this point he doesn’t project to be anything more than a fringe NHLer. That could change in a hurry though if he takes another big step forward next season with the Marlies.
  • ETA- Still has a lot to prove before he can be pencilled into the future.

14. Jeremy Bracco (Winger) 5’10, 175, Shoots- R

  • DOB: March 17, 1997
  • Acquired-Drafted 61st overall in 2015
  • Current Team- Kitchener Rangers (OHL)
  • The Good- Fast and exciting to watch. Has great ability with the puck and has the skill to go around guys or stickhandle right through them. Pretty good goal scoring and playmaking ability as well.
  • What’s holding him back- Might not have the natural goal scoring ability to capitalize on all the exciting plays he generates. Also doesn’t ooze hockey sense either. Still a pretty one-dimensional player.
  • Summary- Transitioned very well to the OHL this year from the U.S. program. The fact he still has another year of junior hockey development bodes well for him. He’s still a long term project.
  • Projection- Has the offensive ability to play on a second line in the NHL but the rest of his game is not NHL calibre yet. Needs to continue to take big steps in his development.
  • ETA- Still has a lot to prove before he can be pencilled into the future.

15. J.D. Greenway (Defence) 6’4, 175, Shoots- L

  • DOB: April 27th, 1998
  • Acquired-Drafted 72nd overall in 2016
  • Current Team- University of Wisconsin (NCAA)
  • The Good- A huge, physical defenceman. He’s primarily thought of as shut-down type of player but he has some surprising mobility and offensive ability.
  • What’s holding him back- He’s still very raw and unproven against high level competition.
  • Summary- Was drafted as a bit of  a project  out of the U.S. development program and will be making a transition to the college program for the start of 2016. He was a standout during the Leafs development camp in the summer which helped raise his expectations a little.
  • Projection- He could prove to be a diamond in the rough. The physical presence he brings along with the all-round game which seems to be developing could cause his stock to rise quickly. But as a first year college player he has a lot of development ahead of him and it’s still far to early to determine an accurate career projection
  • ETA- Still has a lot to prove before he can be pencilled into the future.


16. Yegor Korshkov (Winger) 6’4, 180

  • DOB: July 10, 1996
  • Acquired-Drafted 31st overall in 2016
  • Current Team- Yaroslavl Lokomotiv (KHL)
  • The Good- Big strong winger who takes the puck to the net hard. When he gets going he can be tough to contain. Can score goals and be difficult to play against.
  • What’s holding him back- Very raw and unproven. It’s still unknown how his overall game could translate to North America.
  • Summary- Was somewhat surprisingly drafted by the Leafs as an overage player. Theoretically this would suggest that he’s closer to playing in the NHL than some others but he’s still relatively inexperienced and his contractual situation in Russia means he’ll probably stay overseas for a while yet.
  • Projection- The hope is that he can turn into a scoring winger who could contribute in a secondary role on both special teams. There’s no certainty he gets to that level however.
  •  ETA- Still has a lot to prove before he can be pencilled into the future.

17. Dmytro Timashov (Winger) 5’10, 192, Shoots- L

  • DOB: October 1, 1996
  • Acquired-Drafted 125th overall in 2015
  • Current Team- Toronto Marlies AHL
  • The Good- Can be an electric offensive player. Is relentless in the offensive end and generates scoring opportunities with his energy. Excellent playmaker for a winger.
  • What’s holding him back- Lacks natural goal scoring ability and struggles to finish. Is a fairly one dimensional offensive player.
  • Summary-  Not much question about his offensive game but needs to round out the rest of his game, score some goals and become a leader. Still has lots of time to develop.
  • Projection- If he manages to improve his goal scoring he has the offensive ability to play a top six role in the NHL. But his offence likely isn’t enough to make up for the lack of other dimensions to his game. If he can’t grow his game he’ll be a Marlie for a few years and then head back to Europe.
  • ETA- Still has a lot to prove before he can be pencilled into the future.

18. Kerby Rychel (Winger) 6’1, 213, Shoots- L

  • DOB: October 7, 1994
  • Acquired- Trade with Columbus Blue Jackets in 2016
  • Current Team- Toronto Marlies (AHL)
  • The Good- He’s an old school power forward type that has become more of a rarity into today’s game. He’s tough, physical and can score. Plays with emotion and will drop the gloves once in a while.
  • What’s holding him back- His offensive game at the pro level has been a little inconsistent and slow to develop. Doesn’t quite have the defensive game to force his way onto a roster in that way. Also doesn’t quite have the size or strength to be a truly intimidating presence.
  • Summary- He’s a legit NHL prospect that the Leafs were able to pick up for unremarkable defence prospect Scott Harrington in a bit of puzzling trade. Harrington could just as easily end up an NHL player but he doesn’t have the upside that Rychel has. Rychel hasn’t been a big point producer so far in his professional career but that may not tell the full story as he’s played on some low scoring teams. He’s been good but not great this far. Going into his third year of professional hockey he’s going to be expected to make an impact quickly this year- whether he’s playing in the AHL or NHL.
  • Projection-He still has the potential to be a power forward second line winger but the chances of that seem to be diminishing. If he can round out his overall game a bit he’d be an ideal third line winger. But if his game doesn’t take a big step forward this year he may be destined for a career as a journeyman fringe NHLer.
  • ETA- Mid 2016-2017. Had an uneventful training camp and was never really a threat to make the team. Time is running out for him but being a third year pro means there’s a decent chance we see him in the NHL some point this season.

19. Tobias Lindberg (Winger) 6’3, 215, Shoots-L

  • DOB: July 22, 1995
  • Acquired-Trade with Ottawa Senators in 2015
  • Current Team- Toronto Marlies (AHL)
  • The Good- He’s big and strong and has decent goal scoring ability. Can play in front of the net, in the corners and along the boards. Is a smart player who has a good feel for the entire ice.
  • What’s holding him back- Still pretty raw still and hasn’t figured out how to refine his game. Needs a lot more consistency with his offensive production.
  • What the future holds- Played well in his very short stint with the Leafs and Babcock seemed to like him. Still his play in the AHL has been good but not exactly the calibre of a guy who’s on the path to the NHL. Needs to take a big step forward in 2016. Brings a different element than some of the Leafs other forward prospects which could help propel him ahead of some of the other guys.
  • Projection- Has enough skill and all-round ability to find a niche for himself in the NHL someday but it’s far from a sure thing. He’ll likely get another call-up at some point but he’s not going to get unlimited chances.
  • ETA- Still has a lot to prove before he can be pencilled into the future.

20.  Martins Dzierkals (Winger) 5’11, 170, Shoots-L

  • DOB: April 4th, 1997
  • Acquired-Drafted 68th overall in 2015
  • Current Team- Rouyn-Noranda Huskies (QMJHL)
  • The Good- A high energy scoring winger. He’s not overly physical but he has a lot of jam and loves to take the puck to the net. Isn’t afraid of traffic and will make the hard play. Possesses good hands and vision as well.
  • What’s holding him back- He’s not yet strong enough to play the game he plays at the pro level- might be overmatched. His offensive ability may not be enough to keep him on a second line and hasn’t yet developed the all-round game needed as a role player.
  • Summary- Has looked impressive any time he has played with the Leafs at development camps, prospect camps and preseason scrimmages. Always shows a desire to leave an impression. Has another year of junior hockey and, while he’s been a strong junior player, he needs to take another big step forward this year at the level. Needs to show he can be a truly dominant scorer and take more of a leadership position.
  • Projection- Next year he’ll be pushing hard for a job on the Marlies and will likely develop into a solid AHL player for them. Whether he has an NHL future will be determined by how quickly and smoothly he’s able to adjust to AHL hockey. He’ll need to show he can score at the pro level while continuing to refine his game to find other ways to contribute.
  • ETA- Still has a lot to prove before he can be pencilled into the future.

The Rest

  • Antoine Bibeau- An athletic goaltender with the Marlies who has the ability to step up in important situations and steal games. Has seen his stock drop a bit as inconsistency is a problem as well as his inability to secure the Marlies net to himself.
  • Vladimir Bobylev- Big Russian winger drafted out major junior hockey in Canada in the WHL. Can score a bit and has power forward potential. Gets under guys skin and will fight when challenged. Still very, very raw though.
  • Adam Brooks- Offensively gifted centre who the Leafs drafted as an overager out of his last year of junior hockey. A late bloomer who has flown under the radar. Might be able to contribute to the Marlies right away. Not in the NHL discussion right now.
  • Nikolai Chebykin– A project Russian winger who was picked towards the end of the 2016 draft. Has some natural talent but hasn’t played a lot of high level hockey. He’s a long shot.
  • Stephen Desrochers– A physical, stay at home defenceman. He’s a very good junior player but to be on the pro radar he needs to take a big leap forward with his game. He could go back to the OHL for an overage year. May not have a long-term future with the organization
  • Pierre Engvall– A big strong winger. Was drafted as a project but hasn’t shown anything to this point. Virtually no chance of him ever playing in North America.
  • Carl Grundstrom– An abrasive winger playing Sweden who can be a serious pain in the butt for the opposition.  Already fairly polished in the defensive side of the game and pretty good all round offensive ability too. Has only played secondary roles though so he still needs to show he can elevate his game with higher expectations and more responsibility.
  • Andreas Johnson- Offensive winger who has spent his  career in Sweden up until this point. He did get a couple of playoffs games under his belt with the Marlies last season but that ended with a concussion. Should make the transition to North America this year. Is a power play specialist with a canon for a shot but needs to work on his 5-on-5 play.
  • Dakota Joshua– Has some decent all-round skill at forward but needs to show a lot more before he can be considered a legit prospect. Still has some time on his side in the U.S. college system
  • Kasimir Kaskisuo– Free agent signing is still a bit of a wild card at the goaltending position. Shouldn’t expect much from him and could play in the ECHL this season. A strong start though and he could push his way up the ranks.
  • Nikita Korostelev– Offensively skilled winger who sometimes plays a little too casually. Hasn’t produced well in the OHL but is playing on a fairly low scoring team.
  • Jesper Lindgren– Mobile defenceman who has already spent some time playing against men in Sweden at a fairly young age. Hasn’t shown much yet but could rise up the ranks if he can put together a consistent season at Sweden’s highest level.
  • Victor Loov- A Marlies defenceman who brings a little bit of everything. Can block shots and play tough in the defensive end but also likes to jump in the rush and create offence. Excellent open ice hitter. A general lack of overall skill will probably keep him from making an impact in the NHL.
  • Nicolas Mattinen- A defenceman with monster size and a bit of a mean streak playing for the OHL’s London Knights. Has played only a minor role to this point so the hope is to see what he can do with more ice time in the coming years. Still has lots of development time ahead of him. Might have untapped potential.
  • Keaton Middleton- Another huge, very physical defenceman playing in the OHL. Very raw still. Needs to take some big steps forward in the next couple years.
  • Trevor Moore- A small, offensively skilled winger signed as a free agent out of the U.S. College system. Prior to signing he participated in the Leafs development camp as a walk on and performed very well playing along side Mitch Marner. Signing a third year, undrafted college player in the middle of summer is a little unusual so the Leafs have shown a lot of confidence in him.
  • Garrett Sparks- A pretty consistent goalie with the Marlies who has a good head for the game. Needs to refine his positioning. Too many pucks seem to go right through him. He still has development time ahead of him and could possibly have some degree of NHL future ahead of him.
  • J.J. Picchinich– Goal scoring winger with a hint of grit to his game. Started quite well in the OHL last season but tailed off as the season went on and his role diminished. Could return to the OHL for an overage year. Will likely be overmatched when he gets to the professional level.
  • Dominic Toninato– A center playing college hockey who has speed to burn and can contribute in a few different ways but needs to show a lot more to be considered a legit NHL prospect.
  • Nolan Vesey– A college winger with some decent tools but hasn’t put it all together yet. Still has time on his side. His brother Jimmy was a highly sought after free agent coming out of the U.S. college system who recently signed with the Rangers.
  • Jack Walker- A forward playing junior hockey in the WHL. Another late bloomer drafted as an overager. He’s an offensive spark plug who could contribute to the Marlies relatively soon.
  • Joseph Woll- Relatively unknown and inexperienced goaltender who was drafted out of the U.S. development program. Leafs like his ability and mental makeup. A strong transition to college hockey could see his stock rise quickly but he’s unproven.

About the rankings

  • Rankings are updated four times a year. Once in October (after the start of the NHL season), once in January (mid-season), once in June (post-season, pre-draft) and once in July (post-season, post-draft)

Prospect Criteria

  • Player must not have a played a regular season professional game on any contract other than an entry level contract.
  • If the current NHL season is less than 41 games old, any player on an entry level contract who spent the majority of the previous season in the NHL will not be considered a prospect
  • If the current NHL season is more than 41 games old, any player on an entry level contract who has spent the majority of the current season in the NHL will not be considered a prospect