New-Look HP! Unfiltered Articles Stats Glossary Contact Us
Hockey Prospectus home

New Look Hockey Prospectus is available with new Premium Content!
Limited time offer: $9.99 for an entire year!

<< Previous Article
Top 10 Prospects (07/19)
<< Previous Column
Top 10 Prospects (07/19)
Next Column >>
Top 10 Prospects (07/25)
Next Article >>
Top 10 Prospects (07/25)

July 24, 2012
Top 10 Prospects
Toronto Maple Leafs

by Corey Pronman

Printer-
friendly
Contact
Author

Full list of NHL Organizational Rankings

Toronto Maple Leafs Top 10 Prospects

1. Morgan Rielly, Defense
2. Joe Colborne, Center
3. Matt Finn, Defense
4. Greg McKegg, Center
5. Stuart Percy, Defense
6. Carter Ashton, Right Wing
7. Jesse Blacker, Defense
8. Spencer Abbott, Right Wing
9. Jerry D'Amigo, Left Wing
10. Tyler Biggs, Right Wing

Organizational Ranking: 15th

System Overview :Toronto has a deep system, especially in terms of middle- to low-tier prospects. I had to leave off several players I liked, such as Josh Leivo, Andrew MacWilliam, and Ben Scrivens (who could be a backup goalie in the NHL next year). They have a high-end D prospect in Morgan Rielly, and while Joe Colborne has high-end upside, his pro career has been somewhat concerning thus far. Considering the players they have in their system and Jake Gardiner up on the big club, Toronto could use one more significant forward prospect aside from Colborne and Nazem Kadri to really round out their young core.

---

1. Morgan Rielly, Defense
2010-11 Ranking: N/A
Date of birth: 03/09/1994
Age: 18
Height: 6'0''
Weight: 190
Shoots: Left
Statistics: 18 GP, 3 G, 18 P (Moose Jaw-WHL)
Acquired: First round, fifth overall in 2012 by Toronto

The Good: Rielly is a fantastic all-around offensive talent who is a high-end skater, puck-handler, and passer, who oozes upside. He has the ability to threaten defenses in so many ways because he can be a dangerous player leading rushes, he can dangle through opponents, and he has the hockey sense to slow plays down and show significant playmaking skills. Rielly is a smart player in his own end as well in terms of his reads and positioning. He has all the tools to be a significant puck possession weapon.

The Bad: Rielly missed most of the season with a knee injury after tearing his ACL. He's a tad undersized and that may keep him to just simply being good in his own end and not at the same dynamic level as his offensive skills. He needs to bulk up significantly as well.

Projection: He has the ability to be a premier offensive defenseman and play on a top pairing.

---

2. Joe Colborne, Center
2010-11 Ranking: 1st
Date of birth: 01/30/1991
Age: 22
Height: 6'5''
Weight: 213
Shoots: Left
Statistics: 65 GP, 16 G, 39 P (Toronto-AHL)
Acquired: Trade from Boston, drafted first round, 16th overall in 2008 by Boston

The Good: Colborne has very desirable offensive tools for a big man. His speed is pro-average with slight improvement from the previous season in that area. He's a creative player with solid puck skills. I don't see him being a true plus dangler, but he's pretty coordinated with the puck for his size. Colborne has very impression vision; it's easily above average and maybe even high-end and he can really threaten as a playmaker. He's a pass-first player, but when he shoots, he has a plus shot that he can absolutely wire.

The Bad: Colborne had easily one of the weirdest seasons of any drafted prospect this year. In the early months, he was tearing up the AHL like it was nobody's business, and then he fell off dramatically for a large portion of the season. Normally, this production variance can be the cause of statistical randomness, but his play and how he looked to scouts went from an extreme high to an extreme low, which is quite unusual. This may have been because of a wrist injury that he disclosed and had surgery for at the end of the season. His strength level has gotten better but he could still improve on that area. Colborne needs better first-step quickness and could be somewhat better defensively as well.

Projection: He could be an above-average second-line center.

---

3. Matt Finn, Defense
2010-11 Ranking: N/A
Date of birth: 02/24/1994
Age: 18
Height: 6'0''
Weight: 192
Shoots: Left
Statistics: 61 GP, 10 G, 47 P (Guelph-OHL)
Acquired: Second round, 35th overall in 2012 by Toronto

The Good: Finn really emerged this season after being a good defensive player last year and while he maintained that, he added a very good offensive element to his game. He has high-end hockey sense and it shows in his puck-moving ability, and through how quickly he thinks the game and makes decisions in both ends. Finn has above-average puck skills and skating ability and can be a multi-dimensional threat.

The Bad: He's a little undersized and his frame needs a ton of filling out. Finn will be a below-average physical player in the pros, possibly even replacement level.

Projection: He could be a good second-pairing defender.

---

4. Greg McKegg, Center
2010-11 Ranking: 4th
Date of birth: 06/17/1992
Age: 20
Height: 6'0''
Weight: 200
Shoots: Left
Statistics: 65 GP, 31 G, 75 P (Erie/London-OHL)
Acquired: Third round, 62nd overall in 2010 by Toronto

The Good: McKegg is a gifted puck possessor who has the puck skills and offensive instincts to make plays at the top level. Scouts praise his vision as he's a very good passer. His puck creativity is good, too, and he regularly makes impressive moves. He protects the puck well in the cycle game and generally displays a decent work ethic.

The Bad: McKegg's skating has shown some improvement, but I'd still say he's a tick below average. While in my viewings I thought he looked decent in his own end, scouts I've talked to have said that area needs work as well as his overall play away from the puck. His physical game also draws criticism from scouts in terms of being a little too much of a perimeter guy.

Projection: He has average second-line forward upside although I could see him being a little sheltered.

---

5. Stuart Percy, Defense
2010-11 Ranking: 5th
Date of birth: 05/18/1993
Age: 19
Height: 6'1''
Weight: 195
Shoots: Left
Statistics: 34 GP, 5 G, 25 P (Mississauga-OHL)
Acquired: First round, 25th overall in 2011 by Toronto

The Good: Percy is a high-end thinker who is very advanced for his age and has a great panic threshold. He may not be the most talented puck-handler, but he's a guy who makes a lot of good plays because of his game-processing ability and ability to make plays under pressure. He has above-average vision and that will be his calling card offensively. He also makes good reads defensively and projects to play against good forwards as aside from being a smart defenseman, he also doesn't mind playing a physical game.

The Bad: His skating is simply okay and he can be threatened by faster forwards. Percy isn't really a gifted offensive player and is somewhat rigid with his puck-handling. Concussion/injury issues slowed his development down this year and some scouts called it a "write off year".

Projection: He could be a decent second-pairing defenseman who logs tough defensive minutes.

---

6. Carter Ashton, Right Wing
2010-11 Ranking: 5th (Tampa Bay)
Date of birth: 04/01/1991
Age: 21
Height: 6'3''
Weight: 205
Shoots: Left
Statistics: 63 GP, 21 G, 38 P (Norfolk/Toronto-AHL)
Acquired: Trade from Tampa Bay, first round, 29th overall in 2009 by Tampa Bay

The Good: Ashton is an above-average and arguably plus skater who can be a good asset in the transition game. He's a good physical player who scouts praise for his corner work and puck protection ability. He works hard, is reliable in his own end, and as a penalty killer. He's become pretty strong as his body has developed well. Ashton can play a bit of an edgy game, too. He also has a high-end shot with great accuracy.

The Bad: His offensive upside is questionable and while he has decent puck skills, he sometimes tries to play like he's a better offensive player than he actually is.

Projection: He could be an above-average third-line winger.

---

7. Jesse Blacker, Defense
2010-11 Ranking: 3rd
Date of birth: 04/19/1991
Age: 21
Height: 6'2''
Weight: 190
Shoots: Right
Statistics: 58 GP, 1 G, 16 P (Toronto-AHL)
Acquired: Second round, 58th overall in 2009 by Toronto

The Good: Blacker is a high-end skater with a great combination of top-end speed, agility and acceleration. One of his best assets is that of a puck-rusher, and should he pan out, watching him and Jake Gardiner on a nightly basis should be entertaining for fans of the Leafs. He's a skilled player who can make plays and despite his modest first year AHL scoring totals, he projects as an offensive defenseman. He has a solid physical game as he will lay the body on opponents, and showed decent improvement this year in regards to strength.

The Bad: One of Blacker's historical weaknesses was him playing way too risky with his rushes and needing to make better overall decisions. This year, Toronto tried to get him to play more conservative and scouts complained he swung to the opposite end of the spectrum and lost some of his offensive aggressiveness. He is picking his spots better, though. His defensive game improved as well, but he could still make better reads in his own end.

Projection: He could be an average second-pairing defender.

---

8. Spencer Abbott, Right Wing
2010-11 Ranking: N/A
Date of birth: 04/30/1988
Age: 24
Height: 5'9''
Weight: 165
Shoots: Right
Statistics: 39 GP, 21 G, 62 P (Univ. of Maine-Hockey East)
Acquired: College free agent

The Good: Abbott is a solid to above-average skater who generates good power and has a desirable top gear. He's a good puck possessor who has above-average puck skills and impressive vision as well. Abbott is the kind of player who can control an offense when he gets the puck due to his vision and poise with the puck. He controls the puck well in tight spaces and can make plays through small lanes. Abbott has a solid shot as well. He led the NCAA in scoring this season.

The Bad: His size is obviously an issue and I wouldn't call him a crash-and-bang player who bleeds the high-end intangibles you would want from very small players. When he played a few games at the pro level, he was sheltered.

Projection: He could be a below-average second-line forward.

---

9. Jerry D'Amigo, Left Wing
2010-11 Ranking: 7th
Date of birth: 02/19/1991
Age: 21
Height: 5'11''
Weight: 213
Shoots: Left
Statistics: 76 GP, 15 G, 41 P (Toronto-AHL)
Acquired: Sixth round, 158th overall in 2009 by Toronto

The Good: D'Amigo is a tremendous on-ice worker who finds ways to produce with a limited skill set and is an effective penalty killer. He has a hunched-over stride, but still generates an above-average amount of speed and flies around the ice with energy. He plays decent defense, and despite his smaller stature, he drives the net pretty effectively.

The Bad: His puck possession skills are limited as he's a rigid puck-handler who's not overly creative.

Projection: He could be an average third-line winger.

---

10. Tyler Biggs, Right Wing
2010-11 Ranking: Unranked
Date of birth: 04/30/1993
Age: 19
Height: 6'3''
Weight: 209
Shoots: Right
Statistics: 37 GP, 9 G, 17 P (Univ. of Miami-CCHA)
Acquired: First round, 22nd overall in 2011 by Toronto

The Good: Biggs is a high-end if not bordering on elite physical player due to his big frame and the high amount of physical presence he brings to every game. He loves to lay out big hits, but he's also a good player to put in front of the net and I saw at times Miami would use him in that role on their top PP unit. He's an above-average skater who moves very well for a bigger player. Biggs also has a pretty hard shot and projects to be a moderately effective finisher.

The Bad: Biggs lacks in the skill and puck possession department. While on occasion he'll flash a decent hands play or pass, for the most part he's pretty uncreative and not a good starting point for offense. He has a chance to be a complementary scorer if his development goes well, but he's a ways off from being that.

Projection: He could be an above-average third-line winger.

---

The Next Five

11. Brad Ross, Left Wing: He's an agitator in every sense of the word, but has third-line skill as well.

12. Korbinian Holzer, Defense: Holzer is pretty good in his own end and has an impressive physical game. His upside is limited, though.

13. Petter Granberg, Defense: He's a very smart and effective defensive defender but has fringe offensive ability.

14. Nicolas Deschamps, Left Wing: He looks like a player in terms of his hockey sense and skill, but the production has not come at the pro level.

15. Tony Cameranesi, Center: He's a great skater with skill and works hard on the ice. He'll be a player to watch in his first year at Minnesota-Duluth.

The Sleeper: Sam Carrick, Right Wing

Carrick is an excellent defensive forward who works very hard on the ice and has some playmaking ability.

Toronto Maple Leafs Organizational Top 10

Players 22 or under as of 09/15/2012 or still considered a prospect as defined here.

1. Morgan Rielly, Defense
2. Jake Gardiner, Defense
3. Nazem Kadri, Right Wing
4. Joe Colborne, Center
5. Matt Finn, Defense
6. Greg McKegg, Center
7. Stuart Percy, Defense
8. Carter Ashton, Right Wing
9. Jesse Blacker, Defense
10. Spencer Abbott, Right Wing

Gardiner probably got more minutes than I thought he would be ready for and he was pretty sheltered despite that. His skating is off the charts and he has offensive skill, but how well he can check top opponents is still somewhat of a question mark as it has never been a strong point for him. Kadri started to use his teammates more and do better in his own end. I really like his skill and ability to create offense and despite his gradual development he should be a top-six forward pretty soon.

Corey Pronman is an author of Hockey Prospectus. You can contact Corey by clicking here or click here to see Corey's other articles.

0 comments have been left for this article.

<< Previous Article
Top 10 Prospects (07/19)
<< Previous Column
Top 10 Prospects (07/19)
Next Column >>
Top 10 Prospects (07/25)
Next Article >>
Top 10 Prospects (07/25)

RECENTLY AT HOCKEY PROSPECTUS
Annoucements: Where Are The New Articles?
Zamboni Tracks: Who's That Guy? Special Edmo...
Hall Of Fame: My 2014 HHOF Inductees
On The Horizon: Four Nations And Junior "A" ...
A Closer Look: MacArthur-Turris-Ryan Keeping...


MORE BY COREY PRONMAN
2012-08-06 - Top 10 Prospects: Carolina Hurricanes
2012-08-01 - Top 10 Prospects: Minnesota Wild
2012-07-25 - Top 10 Prospects: Anaheim Ducks
2012-07-24 - Top 10 Prospects: Toronto Maple Leafs
2012-07-19 - Top 10 Prospects: New York Islanders
2012-07-16 - Top 10 Prospects: Montreal Canadiens
2012-07-13 - Top 10 Prospects: Edmonton Oilers
More...

MORE TOP 10 PROSPECTS
2012-08-06 - Top 10 Prospects: Carolina Hurricanes
2012-08-01 - Top 10 Prospects: Minnesota Wild
2012-07-25 - Top 10 Prospects: Anaheim Ducks
2012-07-24 - Top 10 Prospects: Toronto Maple Leafs
2012-07-19 - Top 10 Prospects: New York Islanders
2012-07-16 - Top 10 Prospects: Montreal Canadiens
2012-07-13 - Top 10 Prospects: Edmonton Oilers
More...