The Toronto Maple Leafs recently announced their finalized 25 man roster for the upcoming rookie tournament taking place this coming September against similarly fielded squads from the Chicago Blackhawks, Pittsburg Penguins and finally the Ottawa Senators organizations.
Most of those listed were Leafs prospects that we have heard a fair amount about in the last year or so but it will be interesting to watch the likes of prospect forwards Gauthier, Herzog and Verhaeghe hit the ice. On defense it appears that both European and NCAA prospects would not be available as Viktor Loov, Tom Nilsson, Eric Knodel, Dennis Robertson or Max Everson were not listed. Those holes however appear to have been filled by some interesting player names that are not the strict property of the Maple Leafs organization. The full list of attendee’s can be seen below.
“Murphy, 17, played minor hockey in the Windsor, Ont., area where his defence partner was current Barrie Colts standout Aaron Ekblad. With his diminutive frame (5-foot-10, 173 pounds) and deftness with the puck, he’s often been called the OHL’s ‘other Murphy.'” stated Neate Sagar of Buzzing the Net.
The young defenseman was recently traded from the Peterborough Peter’s organization to the Windsor Spitfires in what most in the industry described as a pretty lopsided trade that Windsor came out on top on. Murphy is beginning to turn heads with his innate ability to move the puck up ice but one should not forget his 24 points in 42 games for the Spitfires last year. Will be interesting to see how he handles the increased competition especially given his slight stature but you have to wonder if this was someone the Leafs scouts were watching given his currently undrafted status.
Raine attended the Maple Leafs prospect camp recently and appears to have made a decent impression on the brass, landing him an invitation to the upcoming rookie tournament. Won’t go into to much about him given the outline provided in my previous post but needless to say he is a big stay at home defenseman with a grit.
This was quite possibly the most surprising addition to the roster given that most people were under the general impression that Yuen was the property of the Winnipeg Jets especially after being taken in the fourth round, 119th overall in the 2011 entry draft. The Jets had gone as far as to trade up into the fourth round using their fifth and seventh round picks that year to do so. Yuen not signing with Winnipeg appears to be quite the mystery, some feel it was indicuative of the two sides being unable to negotiate terms, while others hypthosized that the player felt he was not part of the Jets greater long term plans and decided to re-enter the draft.
There was an interesting article written by Shawn Reznik over at The Hockey Writers recently about Yuen being a possible fit for the Philidelphia Flyers and had the following to say about his skill set:
“He’s a prolific two-way defenseman with some of the most fluid skating you’ve ever seen. Growing up, he was a figure skater, so his edge-work, agility, and explosiveness are nearly flawless.
A distinguished player in his own end, you likely won’t notice him much in the defensive zone, which tends to be a good thing. He plays a simple style of hockey and with very little mistakes. Yuen doesn’t rush the puck up ice, but his transition game is very apparent. He makes smart plays, not flashy ones.
Physicality is an aspect every defenseman should have in their repertoire. Yuen’s game boasts it. With his positional play, separating a player from the puck doesn’t take much. His board play stands out and will entertain throwing some fisticuffs.
His defensive positioning and awareness has been his backbone. Leading up to the 2011 draft, the term “shutdown defenseman” was being thrown around in regards to his style. But it seems his offensive game has rounded out just as well.”
In an interview conducted by Neate Sager of Buzzing the Net, Yuen mentioned his biggest asset was his “two-way game. I think I’m an all-around defenceman who can do a bit of shutting down other teams’ top lines. I can rush the puck well and move the puck well.”
“Zach has a heavy shot from the point (and more importantly, accurate). He can run a powerplay, if need be. His passing is crisp and his hockey IQ is through the roof. The Winnipeg Jets could have made a very bad decision by letting him go.
A 6’0″, 205 lbs defenseman is not prototypical in today’s NHL. However, Zach shows all the signs that he will be a capable defenseman at the next level. This is a pretty bad scenario for the Jets, but a potentially key acquisition for general managers in desperate need of a matured, technically sound, efficient blueliner.”
Apologies about the quality but an interesting draft card video all the same:
Really, really interested in watching Yuen play and am curious to see if this is an audition for something more with the Leafs organization or just a favour to a player agent to get this kid noticed again. Anyways as always food for thought!