I’ll admit it, other than Adam Hughesman and Charles Sarault both of who I have been watching since they were both invited to and attended the 2012 Maple Leafs Rookie Camp (and in my mind left quite the lasting impression), there does not seem to be a whole lot of information out there in cyberspace about what happened to all the non-drafted or signed invite attendee’s AFTER camp ended. So that ladies and gentlemen is where I come in 🙂 focusing this time around on the 2011 camp attendee’s.
In 2011 the Maple Leafs brass invited a collection of, if memory serves me correctly, 70 prospects/picks and invitee’s to camp for evaluation. Some of those free agent invitee’s had legitimate chances of making the club in some capacity and others, some would argue, are strictly positional fill. Personally, I would actually argue against that to some degree and say that no matter how far off the radar, these young men are invited to camp for a reason, either as long term ‘watch’ players (college/university players) or potential long shot draft picks. Either way it is a win win for all those involved, the club gets to review players they did not necessarily pick at the draft or sign outright and the players have an extended lease in their hockey careers and a chance to absorb considerable experience as life as a pro hockey player.
2011 saw six players that attended camp that would fall into my definition of invitee’s. The first portion of each player review below was originally posted on Hockeybroads.com(1) by BIG BLUE, who I would like to thank for taking the time to post.
Garrett Clarke – Defense
” Once a highly touted Dman coming into the Q, Clarke’s stock fell because of internal issues with his team. An offensive blueliner, He brings an edge to his game, along with the ability to rush the puck. He’s a tremendous skater, as well. There was talk of attitude problems throughout his career, though if Burke has invited him… he must have looked into it.” (2)
According to what is available and said online, Clarke is unfortunately viewed either unfairly or otherwise of having attitude related problems after bouncing around a number of QMJHL clubs before he landed a tryout with the Maple Leafs. The 20 year old Clarke is currently plying his trade with the Allen Americans (http://www.allenamericans.com/) in the Central Hockey League (http://www.centralhockeyleague.com/) where in 14 games he has 1 point, 38 PIMS and currently sits a -1. Here’s hoping he makes the adjustment to pro hockey life and taps into his considerable potential.
Recent fight, it appears they love him in Allen, TX 🙂 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ScfpFOvFMUk
Kyle Neuber – Forward
“A big physical presence, Neuber has been a member of the Columbus organization since he was drafted in 09. He’s a clear cut enforcer who can drop the gloves and rattle some bodies. Otherwise, he’s a kid who needs work in the defensive side of the
game, and lacks the true footspeed to be much of an NHL’er. How he’s on this roster? I’m not sure, as he should still be under contract with the Blue Jackets.” (2)
Neuber actually spent some time with the Marlies appearing in 30+ games before being assigned to the ECHL Reading Royals for the remainder of the season. A possible victim of the directional change in hockey surrounding the need for enforcers, Neuber is currently incognito as there did not appear to be any information about him playing the 2012-2013 season anywhere. If anyone does have anything on him, feel free to send it my way.
Mike Schwindt – Defense
“Another big boy, Schwindt is a nice defensive presence who can rattle a few bodies. You won’t get any offense from him… absolutely none, but he may be able to crack an NHL roster as a 6th or 7th Defenseman. He was recently traded to the Soo Greyhounds and could be a steadying presence on their backend.” (2)
Schwindt, a 6’4″, 211 pound defensemen is currently playing for the University of Guelph Gryphons where in the last 18 games he has 4 assists, 14 PIMS and sits even at a 0 +/-
Matt Stanisz – Defense
“While not overly big, Stanisz is a pretty calming defensive defender who saw his offense blossom in his Overage year, playing with Jesse Blacker’s Owen Sound Attack. He likely won’t have that offensive game in the pros, but it’s worth noting. He’s usually the defenseman who makes smart and calm decisions and plays sound defense.”
22 year old Stanisz is in his second year at Carleton Univeristy playing for the Ravens where in 15 games this year he has quietly put up some impressive numbers with 2 goals, 12 assists, 12 PIMS and currently sits even. He definitely has decent NHL size at 6’1″, 205 lbs and given his statistics I cannot imagine a club not giving him a shot once he finishes school.
Denny (Dennis) Urban – Defense
“A small offensively gifted defender, Urban saw brief time with the ECHL’s Reading Royals, where the Leafs brass would have seen him. He was one of the better defenders in the country, and had gained some support for the Hobey Baker this past year, after beating the record for most points by a defenseman in Robert Morris (his NCAA team) history.” (2)
LOL I don’t think I need to comment here, just read some of my posts below about him. Has continued to impress and should be given a shot at a higher level soon.
Dave Cowan – Defense
“Cowan was on the roster last year, and was a teammate of the aforementioned Urban. He’s another big defender, with some steadying skills defensively and a long wingspan.”
Unfortunately I was unable to find any information about Cowan except that he was given a qualifying offer by the Reading Royals back in July which expired on August 31st making him a UFA. Hopefully the lockout will end soon so more guys in his position get to resume their career’s as the NHL/AHL’ers head back to their respective leagues.
Mitchell Heard – Forward
Another player I won’t need to mention in much detail, just see my posts below. I was a fan and was really happy to hear his name called out at the last draft joining the Colorado Avalanche organization and is currently playing for the Lake Erie Monsters.
Here is my original post about the same players from the defunct Leafspace.com if you are interested:
Posted 19 August 2011 – 09:09 PM
Couldn’t find a posting anywhere that summarized the 2011 Maple Leafs rookie camp invitees and their possible affect on the upcoming Marlies/Royals rosters and thought I would throw together a quick post to perhaps save people some time in finding more information on them. Original roster announcement can be found here http://mapleleafs.nhl.com/club/news.htm?id=585936
Mitchell Heard – 19, 6’2″ 180 pounds
In case you haven’t already heard the story, Heard went undrafted two years in a row and was an invitee to this years Maple Leafs prospect camp, scoring 4 goals in 3 games and raising some Leafs brass eyebrows in the process and scoring himself an ATO for the upcoming rookie camp. The Star had a great article about him here. I really like the underdog aspect of this story and his never die attitude (he wasn’t drafted into the OHL either); he knows it is going to take hard work and I am definitely rooting for him. Check out his sweet toe dragged goal against the Battalion here 0:25 in.
Originally a Columbus draft pick in 2009 (7th round, 197 overall) if you can’t tell what ‘the Neuter’r’ is good at by looking at his PIM’s above, you will soon. A big kid who is definitely not afraid of throwing them. Overview of him on HF Boards here and him throwing some BOMB’s here.
Dave Cowan – 26, 6’4″ 205 pounds
|2009-10||Robert Morris University||CHA||30||1||5||6||24||n/a|
Not Jeff Cowan. This Cowan was battling a Penguins rookie during the 2010 rookie tournament and was steered into the end boards, dislocating his arm and missing the entire season in the process. A good Toronto Sun article on him here from last year. A captain of the RMU team in his last year and MVP, he has good height/reach and signed to play with the Leafs ECHL affiliate Reading Royals.
Mispelled in the Leafs press release, Mike Schwindt played with the Niagra IceDogs and that +22 from last year definitely sticks out. Known to skate well for a big man, block a ton of shots and has plenty of drive (known for first guy on the ice and last guy off and the only other place you will find him is in the gym). IceDog Fans agree he made great improvement strides over the last year. Here is his draft card.
|2010-11||Owen Sound Attack||OHL||61||12||31||43||42||+25|
Teammate (and D partner?) of Jesse Blacker on the Owen Sound Attack, looking at the stats (he also had 14 assists in 22 playoff games) they definitely appear to speak of him having great vision and passing ability. Positive mention in a Sportnets article here. Appears he may be attending Carlton University and playing in the CIS this upcoming year.
Another misspell in the Leafs announcement, Dennis Urban is another RMU product (like Dave Cowan), NCAA Best Defenseman award receipient who went undrafted but in the year previous to his ECHL debut year put up 40 pts in 35 games and appears to be heading to the Royals. Eliteprospects.com has him listed at 176 pounds so perhaps he has started putting on weight now that he has turned pro.