Petrielli on the Toronto Marlies

Scouting Report – Kasperi Kapanen
Team: Toronto Marlies Draft Status: 22nd overall, 2014 (Pittsburgh)
(Toronto acquired via trade from Pittsburgh)
Position: LW/RW
To Date Stats: 43GP, 9G, 16A, 25 pts, 8 PIMs
Shoots: R
Height/Weight: 5’11” 180lbs

Characteristics
Skating (Speed/edges/technique/etc.)
A shifty skater that is good on his edges, Kapanen excels at changing pace and direction. Has good separation speed and is able to pull away from guys if he has some space or opportunity on the ice. Crouches down slightly when he skates and is able to generate power in his stride
Doesn’t have a low base in his stride but his balance is still strong. He’s more likely to be knocked off the puck because he isn’t heavy enough weight wise, not because he isn’t strong on his skates. Has some explosion and hop to his step and can fly around the ice because of it.
Grade: 55
Shooting (Slap/wrist/backhand, General strength, proclivities, etc.)
Has a good snap shot that he can get up in a hurry; he curls his blade around the puck and rips shots to the top corners. Kapanen loves to toe drag and cut in for a shot. Is able to naturally toe drag the puck and shoot it in one smooth motion which makes that play extremely dangerous if you don’t guard it well off the rush.
Has shown a willingness to drive guys wide but if he doesn’t have a clear step on the defender he’s likely to circle the net versus trying to drive it to the net (which is not always a bad thing).
Doesn’t regularly take slap shots but he has shown the ability to step into one when he has space and do some damage. His slap shot certainly isn’t bad, it’s just not his go-to shot.
Grade: 50
Puck Skills
Kapanen’s tape job goes from roughly the middle of his blade to the toe, there is no tape on the heel. That sets the tone for his puck handling as he controls the puck at the top of his blade and his hands are close together at the top of his stick. He’s able to shift the puck seamlessly and as mentioned above, has a bit of a go-to toe drag move. He’s able to pull the puck in and around guys and looks to set up scenarios where he can. Because his hands are so high it can be easy to get under him and take the puck off of him as that hand placement makes him not particularly strong on the puck nor is he naturally heavy to compensate for that.
Like most young, talented players, he can be guilty of over handling the puck but as long as he’s not getting too individualistic a system like Toronto’s is going to allow him to make those mistakes to a degree as they want to encourage creativity, zone entries and holding onto the puck.
Grade: 60
Smarts (vision, defensive play, ability to stick in system, etc.)
Kapanen is a smart player that has shown an understanding of systems across all zones. His question is more about how engaged he’s going to be in any given game. His vision and offensive instincts are readily apparent as he can feather passes with the best of them and hit the backdoor seam with ease. As a 19 year old in the AHL he had a strong season offensively; there’s no question he understands the offensive side of the game. The only time he gets away from the system offensively is when he over handles the puck and tries to do too much, which is natural.
Defensively he needs work and he won’t be confused as a penalty killer/shutdown guy at this time. The important thing to remember with Kapanen here is that he’s younger than his peers and very young for this league, so he’s going to make mistakes that stand out at times particularly on a team as good as the Marlies this year.
Grade: 50
Physicality
In terms of throwing big hits, that’s not Kapanen’s game and never will be. He will battle on the walls and use his body to shield the puck though. He has also flashed the ability to beat guys wide by using his shoulder and inside leg to protect the puck out wide and cut in, which is a physical play. What will be important for Kapanen moving forward is to be physical inside the dots so that he can contribute offensively instead of settling to be a perimeter player.
Grade: 40
General Assessment
Kapanen is a player that has the tools; he just needs to put them altogether in the toolbox. Although he’s not big, strong or a stud defensively, he can skate, shoot and stickhandle with ease. Offensively he understands the game, he can take a shift in his own zone and he’s not afraid to mix it up. The Marlies were stacked this year and should see quite a few players go full-time with the Leafs next season. That will mean an opportunity will be there for the taking for Kapanen to take hold of a bigger role with the Marlies next season (at least at the start of the season). That will make next season a big one for him to start putting everything together and trending closer to a point per game guy in the AHL, and ready for prime time in the NHL.
Overall Future Projection: 52.75

Scouting Report – Joshua Leivo
Team: Toronto Marlies Draft Status: 86th overall, 2011 (Toronto)
Position: LW/RW
To Date Stats: 51GP, 17G, 31A, 48 pts, 14 PIMs
Shoots: R
Height/Weight: 6’2” 195lbs
Characteristics
Skating (Speed/edges/technique/etc.)
Leivo isn’t the prettiest skater that you will see but he gets around the ice effectively. His stride can be short and choppy (although he has definitely worked to elongate it), and he leans too far forward at times. His arm movements have improved a lot since he started with the Marlies as he no longer has wild, lateral movements. He’s not a straight line burner but he manages to be effective. He can win races to pucks and get in on the forecheck. Whatever you say about the aesthetics of his skating, he always seems to lead odd-man rushes and win races.
As Leivo’s filled into his 6’2 frame (he’s no longer too light and awkward), his skating technique has smoothed out and he’s become a player able to shift into space and get into dangerous scoring areas with ease. His edges aren’t fantastic and you can see him getting off balance at times, but he’s also able to work his edges on tight turns and spin off defenders with the puck.
Grade: 45
Shooting (Slap/wrist/backhand, General strength, proclivities, etc.)
Josh Leivo’s strength is unmistakeably his wrist/snap shot. He has always had a “goal scorer’s” touch and been a player able to roof pucks and find openings to beat goalies. With Leivo’s 6’2 frame and long arms, he’s able to pull goalies out of positions by holding the puck out wide of his body and shooting it by them. He can get pucks off quickly with a quick snap but he also loves to pull back wrist shots and load up a shot with accuracy and power.
Have rarely, if ever, seen Leivo take a slap shot or one-timer slap shot. He’s happy to go to the net and bang pucks in around the crease, and he has good hand-eye coordination to tip pucks and cause havoc in the slot.
Grade: 55
Puck Skills
Not a one-on-one player off the rush, Leivo does damage stickhandling along the walls and on the cycle. He uses his body to shield the puck well and he gets his bottom hand on his stick a little lower to lean on it and be tough on pucks. He’s shown the ability to make power moves coming out from behind the net and spinning off defenders to shoot. Likes to drop his shoulder and hold the puck out wide with his reach away from defenders to get where he wants to go off the cycle. Since he’s not the heaviest of players it’s not always effective, but if he’s going against a smaller defender or gets body position he’s dangerous off the cycle.
In the neutral zone and off the rush he’s more likely to create scoring chances from chipping pucks by players or winning battles and getting around them than stickhandling it through them. He can pull the back and toe drag it at times, but it’s more to set up his great shot than actually toe drag around a defender.
Grade: 55
Smarts (vision, defensive play, ability to stick in system, etc.)
Leivo has always been a shoot first player. He understands offense, how to find teammates and get open, but he’s not a playmaker, he’s a scorer. Where Leivo really excels is moving with and without the puck to get scoring opportunities, including finding “soft spots” in the offensive zone to get great shot opportunities. He understands offensive systems and how to make an impact on the power play.
Defensively, his game has grown over the years. He can win battles and get pucks out along the wall and at 6’2 with long arms, he’s able to block shooting lanes and cover his point man well. What can be tough for Leivo is that he has rotated between wings and leagues, so there’s always adjustment periods to account for in that. He’s not a penalty killer or future Selke winner, but he’s not a liability in his own end or the type of player that will make you cringe. He gets the job done.
Grade: 45
Physicality
Leivo isn’t a big hitter but his body is always involved in the game. Whether it’s using his frame to protect the puck, getting in on the forecheck, winning battles, getting inside guys to lift their sticks and take the puck, he’s involved physically.
He will also use his body in front of the net to screen the goalie and get rebounds/tips. Leivo has a few power moves, as previously mentioned, coming out from behind the net or working the wall. He isn’t a player that you should keep your head-up for if you are an opponent, but he is a player that will use his body on you to create offensively and get where he wants to go.
Grade: 55
General Assessment
Drafted five years ago now, Leivo just completed a near point per game season in the AHL and had a strong showing with the Leafs as an offensive player. He’s turning 23 in May and the Leafs will have openings on their roster next year, he has to get on that roster. Leivo did not have a good camp with Toronto last year and was sent down strangely early, the positive is that he responded well to that and worked his way up instead of sucking out. The Leafs have a lot of moving parts right now with their roster (lots of good Marlies can make the team, they have cap space, and their 2015 and 2016 first round picks should at least challenge to make the roster), but Leivo can make the roster on any line, contribute and work his way up. He’s going to need to start pushing through and sticking in the NHL now as he’s reaching that cut off age. The good news is he has the tools and ability to do so, and he has not looked out of place during any of his NHL call-ups to date.
Overall Future Projection: 51

Scouting Report – Brendan Leipsic
Team: Toronto Marlies Draft Status: 89th overall, 2012 (Nashville)
(Toronto acquired via trade from Pittsburgh)
Position: LW/RW
To Date Stats: 65GP, 20G, 34A, 54 pts, 55 PIMs
Shoots: L
Height/Weight: 5’9” 170lbs
Characteristics
Skating (Speed/edges/technique/etc.)
When you are on the smaller side, you need to move your legs constantly and work hard to get around the ice, and Leipsic does exactly that. He’s not a burner but he more than keeps up with the play. Uses a low base and quick feet, keeps his shoulders straight and moves his arms effectively to help his stride.
Leipsic is more of a straight line player than someone who is going to get on his edges or make dramatic cuts, twists and turns. His crossovers can be choppy and he generally looks to skate in straight lines to get where he needs to go.
Grade: 45
Shooting (Slap/wrist/backhand, General strength, proclivities, etc.)
From last season to this one, it has been very noticeable that Leipsic has worked on his shot. In nine fewer AHL games, he scored six more goals. He has always had a one-timer, and that doesn’t get talked about enough. Leipsic loves opening up off the rush or on the power play and getting a puck in his wheel house. He gets nice and low, generates power in his shot, and he shoots “through” the puck.
His snap and wrist shot are accurate, and if he gets a chance in the slot he can capitalize. He isn’t going to rip pucks in from the top of the circle, but if he has a clean look a step or two inside of that he can beat goalies. Also has the ability to pull pucks to his backhand and roof the puck up. It’s clear he holds his bottom hand strong and rips through the puck.
Grade: 55
Puck Skills
For a small player that puts up points, you’d think with certainty that Leipsic has amazing hands, but that is not the case. Most of the offense he generates is because he goes to the dirty areas and has a good understanding of the game. That doesn’t mean his pucks skills are weak, but he also isn’t a dangler. If Leipsic is skating through the neutral zone and carrying the puck in, he’s more likely to gain the zone and make a pass (either by curling or putting the brakes on and finding a teammate), than he is to put it through a defender’s legs and go around him. Can curl a puck and shoot it well, but it’s very difficult to actually toe drag a defender when you are 5’9 and don’t have the reach.
Grade: 40
Smarts (vision, defensive play, ability to stick in system, etc.)
One way Leipsic makes up for his height is his smarts. He reads the game well offensively and defensively and the game never appears to be moving “too fast” for him, including his NHL cameo. Understands his spots defensively and gets in shooting lanes; Leipsic is good on the wall in his own end and patient enough to regroup the puck to the defense if the ice in front of him is clogged up.
Offensively, he has a good head for the game. You can have vision in knowing what to do with the puck, but you can also have vision in understanding where to go on the ice and how to make an impact offensively. When his teammates have the puck he puts himself in a position to succeed, whether that’s by putting his stick down as a target or opening up for a one timer. He can move the puck as well, he has 74 assists in 130 AHL games. He can find guys off the rush, but he’s also good at finding teammates in traffic.
Grade: 50
Physicality
For a small player, he’s everything you can ask for physically. Leipsic has always had a reputation as a pest that throws his weight around. He doesn’t throw hits that big in pro hockey, but he’s someone that will get the attention of other teams and have them talking about him. He’s a feisty player that willingly goes in all the dirty areas of the ice. Naturally he can be pushed around at times, but overall he’s effective, whether that’s working the boards or the front of the net, because he’s persistent and doesn’t quit. He’s unable to make power moves because he doesn’t have the reach to do so, but he knows how to be physical to create offense and be a difference maker. All things consider, he does as much as he can in this department.
Grade: 55
General Assessment
Leipsic continued to trend up this year and had a more than respectable showing in the NHL this year. His offensive game took a step forward as he’s no longer viewed as merely a potential agitator that can chip in once and awhile. He’s a player that has the legitimate potential to contribute steadily at the next level. Turning 22 this year, I think he’ll be in tough to make the Leafs to start the season just because of their prospect depth. That does not mean he isn’t capable of getting a call-up at some point and sticking for good, or playing in the NHL in general, it’s a testament to the Leafs system. If he can push closer to the point per game mark and/or 30 goals, that would be a nice stepping stone for him in the AHL. Leipsic has done a good job of progressing year-to-year and making himself a prospect that brings something unique to the table while also being able to contribute a respectable amount of offense.
Overall Future Projection: 48

Scouting Report – Viktor Loov
Team: Toronto Marlies Draft Status: 209th overall, 2012
Position: LD
To Date Stats: 55GP, 3G, 12A, 15 pts, 40 PIMs
Shoots: L
Height/Weight: 6’3” 200lbs
Characteristics
Skating (Speed/edges/technique/etc.)
Skating has always been a strength of Loov’s. As he’s grown into his body and filled out, his stride has only become more natural and smooth. Loov has a classic, powerful stride with good hips to transition easily from forwards to backwards or vice versa. Has a wide base when he skates and generates good speed off crossovers. Can swing across the ice laterally going backwards to cover ice with ease or prevent a forward from beating him wide.
Wins races to pucks and is able to beat forechecks with his speed. It’s rare to see him with a bad gap in the neutral zone because he plays to his speed advantage and gets across the ice quickly when necessary.
Skating backwards he has a low base and keeps his back straight, which is good form. Has a hop to his step skating both forwards and backwards.
Grade: 55
Shooting (Slap/wrist/backhand, General strength, proclivities, etc.)
In 129 AHL games, Loov has nine goals. That’s not a bad number for the type of player he is, but he also won’t be confused with a power play quarterback anytime soon. Loov keeps his hands a tad high when he shoots. It’s good for getting quick shots through to the net with a quick snap shot, but not if you want a defenseman to have a hard, heavy shot. In 55 games this year he had 77 shots on net, the AHL season before that he had 90 in 74.
Loov has had a few moments in his AHL career where he has shown that if he is allowed to walk in he can beat a goalie cleanly, but he knows when he has the puck on the point the best value he brings is getting pucks through to the net, and that’s how he plays.
Grade: 45
Puck Skills
Loov is more of a stay at home defenseman, but that does not mean the puck is a grenade that explodes off his stick. He carries it with confidence and can lead a rush out of his zone; he doesn’t need to rely on his partner to move the puck. He can be overwhelmed by a forecheck and he isn’t smooth under pressure (his size/strength is more likely to get him out of that jam), just to keep his stick handling in perspective. Loov can walk the line adequately to make room for his aforementioned point shot.
He’s able to beat forecheckers due to his skating and size, not because he’s able to go around attackers with his hands. His stickhandling can look a little awkward, in part because his stick itself actually looks a little too long to be stickhandling-friendly.
Grade: 40
Smarts (vision, defensive play, ability to stick in system, etc.)
Loov is smart in the sense that he knows what makes him successful and how to play within himself, which is an underrated skill. He’s a stay at home type that can skate the puck out of danger and keep up to a high pace, he knows that he can produce a respectable amount offense for a defenseman, but that it is ultimately not his game nor will it ever be. His vision is that he keeps thing simple, moves the puck up to the open man and doesn’t try to get too fancy with a big cross ice pass or homerun pass attempt.
Defensively he uses his skating and reach to limit opponents off the rush and tie guys up. He’s able to use his body, an active stick, his wheels or a combination of all three. Has shown a good understanding of following his man and doing his job in the defensive zone which is all you can ask.
Grade: 55
Physicality
When there is an opportunity for a big hit to be thrown, Viktor Loov’s eyes light up. This year he toned down the hits that go on the highlight reel that take him out of position. That does not mean he is not an effective physical player still. Loov throws the hits along the boards that are not flashy, but they hurt your ribs. He keeps his shoulder down and drives through guys. If an opponent is taking him wide, he is happy to swing out his hip and either get his opponent with a hip check or put it into his gut. Almost always keeps his feet down on initial contact and tucks his elbows in, although you can argue he charges into opponents. Physically, Loov is an explosive hitter that can win a physical battle and win body position, or go through an opponent with a game changing hit.
Grade: 60
General Assessment
Viktor Loov did not improve his game by leaps and bounds this year, but he did refine it. He isn’t taking himself out of the play as much anymore looking for big hits and is very comfortable in his defensive role. In his NHL cameo, he looked comfortable and when he got a point in his first game, he had a great comment about that not being his game. Loov is in a glut of left handed defensemen for the Leafs. The NHL team have three left handed defensemen under contract as well as RFA Martin Marincin. Then they have a bunch of left handed defense prospects that are of the same calibre (third pairing types; Rinat Valiev, Scott Harrington, and even Andrew Campbell) that all have slightly different skillsets that differentiate them. The Swedish Loov is turning 24 and is going to have to start making a push to stick on the big team. He has the ability and can bring something unique to their current unit because of how physical he is. It will be important to seize the opportunity if he is given one in the NHL next season.
Overall Future Projection: 52

Scouting Report – William Nylander
Team: Toronto Marlies Draft Status: 8th overall, 2014 (Toronto)
Position: C/RW
To Date Stats: 38GP, 18G, 27A, 45 pts, 10 PIMs
Shoots: R
Height/Weight: 5’11” 174lbs
Characteristics
Skating (Speed/edges/technique/etc.)
Nylander is a beautiful and technically sound skater. Has a long, powerful stride while keeping his chest up and shoulders facing forward. Accelerates out of crossovers and reaches top gear in seconds; from there he’s able to go end-to-end with ease. Can stop on a dime off the rush, and dig his edges in on the attack for a tight turn which makes him especially dangerous because he can blow by you, or if you cheat, stop up and make a play.
He’s able to transition and open up his body to put himself in proper scoring positions off the ice. Also doesn’t break stride when crossing over, so he’s able to wind up behind the net or generate speed in the neutral zone to attack offensively and put defenders on their heels.
Grade: 70
Shooting (Slap/wrist/backhand, General strength, proclivities, etc.)
Has every shot in his repertoire. Can snap and wrist the puck with pinpoint accuracy in no time at all. Has a surprisingly good one timer that he doesn’t get much credit for (which might be a result of playing on his strong side on the half-wall of the power play), but he can lean into them and unleash a bomb. The only shot he doesn’t really use much is his pure slap shot. He doesn’t take them off the rush and he doesn’t take them standing still, which makes sense considering how good his snap/wrist shot is. He’s always ready to shoot the puck skating into the offensive zone, and he loves walking in and ripping shots, or curling the puck in to change his angle before letting it go.
Nylander claims that he works on his shot every day and the proof is in the pudding. He can beat goalies from bad angles because his puck placement is precise. He’s also comfortable going into traffic and banging in rebounds, which is important for a skilled goal scorer with a great shot. He’s not a one trick pony.
Grade: 65
Puck Skills
Quick stick handler with good hands and he doesn’t keep his hands too high on his stick. Can shield the puck well on the wall and although he’s not very big, he can keep the puck out wide from his body and control possession of the puck. He has also has a fantastic pickpocket, stick lift move to get the puck back from defenders. Nylander uses his skating and puck skills to slice through the neutral zone, and to drive defensemen wide (and usually around the net). He will cut in and shoot the puck; he doesn’t have a tendency to put the puck through defensemen’s legs and try to split them, even though he has the skillset capable to do so.
Uses his skillset to create space for himself versus beating guys one-on-one, and there’s a difference. He uses his edges and ability to hold the puck to make room for his shooting and passing abilities.
Grade: 65
Smarts (vision, defensive play, ability to stick in system, etc.)
Nylander made the full-time jump to center this year and picked it up on the fly quite well. His vision almost goes without saying, he hits the backdoor pass with ease, can rip pucks crisply tape to tape or sauce them over obstacles. He also has a great backhand pass that deserves credit.
In a brief NHL appearance, he picked up the league pace quickly and improved seemingly every game. Center suits him well because he gets the puck more; sometimes guilty of prioritizing offense in the AHL but it’s easy to understand why when he can score so easily in that league.
Grade: 65
Physicality
You won’t see Nylander throw a big hit but he doesn’t avoid contact either. Has a power move coming out from behind the net where he drives out with his shoulder down and uses his body to protect the puck before unleashing a wrist shot. He’ll battle on the wall, and as mentioned, doesn’t mind giving some space so he can set up his pickpocket move. Uses his edges to get out of physical confrontations on the wall but he can be pushed around by bigger, stronger opponents at times. Understands he needs to go through the trenches to score and he doesn’t shy away from the dirty areas. He’ll go to the net hard and initiate contact with the puck to get where he needs to go, which is more important physically than finishing a check.
Grade: 45
General Assessment
The AHL was far too easy for him, but he still needed the time to learn how to play center. Showed well in his NHL call-up and as he got better game-after-game, he began to dominate. Going against top centers in the NHL on a nightly basis will be his next step, but you can only learn that by playing through it. He’s going to be a dangerous scorer and game changer at the next level. It will be interesting to see if they bring him along a little slower on the wing next season, which was something Babcock referenced towards the end of the season (the idea of starting centers on the wing, not about Nylander specifically). A very confident player that could have easily played in the NHL this season, but the Leafs played the slow game and got him important development time at center. He’s going to be a really good NHLer for a long time.
Overall Future Projection: 64

2 thoughts on “Petrielli on the Toronto Marlies

  1. Sorry if you’ve published this before, but relatively, what do the Grades represent? Out of 100? What levels would be considered average, above average, good, excellent?

    Thanks.

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