Just as I was putting the finishing touches on an article that covered some of the higher level prospects the Maple Leafs currently had in their system along with where they current are in terms of their respective development, then no less than three other articles from much more reputable sources were published lol; back to the old drawing board. That being said there were some middling prospects that fell outside of the top 20 that most of the authors mentioned (see the links below) that I thought at a minimum deserved some coverage so we knew where they sit.
2010 Draft Prospects Summaries:
Brad Ross took it all in stride. In a recent interview after his call up, ‘Rad-boss’ cited a move down to the Maple Leafs ECHL affiliate Orlando Solar Bears as a bit of a wake-up call. After producing almost a point per game with the Bears, he was recalled to the Marlies where he has put up 6 points in 16 games and was mentioned by the coach as a factor in the games he has played and that finding consistency in his game that will remain a priority throughout the rest of the year. He has put on some much need weight coming in around 190lbs to play the style of game he will need to at the pro level but one must remember that at 22 years old he still has a little bit of time to put it altogether. Has definitely been a more noticeably agitating factor in games this year and looks to be back to his old self.
The remaining three players left in the 2010 draft year selected by the Maple Leafs that fell outside of the Leafs top 20 players mentioned by HockeysFuture who I believe the Leafs only continue to hold the rights to, may still be worth mentioning and are briefly covered below.
Sondre Olden was drafted in the 3rd round, 79th overall by the Maple Leafs in the 2010 draft. The Olso, Norway native is now a 6’4”, 176lbs 22 years old playing in the Swedish Hockey League for Brynas IF as a right winger where he has 2 points in 16 games so far this season.
Daniel Brodin was selected in the 5th round, 146th overall and is also playing for Brynas IF of the SHL. The 6’1”, 187lbs right winger is now 24 years old and was originally projected to be a speedy, checking line winger. He currently has 5 goals and 15 points in 31 games so far. Hockey’s Future had this to say about Brodin earlier on in his career:
“Brodin is a high energy winger who brings a ton of tenacity and speed each game he plays. He’s not intimidated easily and isn’t afraid to battle in the dirty areas of the ice. Likely never to be depended on for his offensive ability, in time Brodin may prove to be a quality checking line forward. The next step for Brodin is adding strength so that his checking game becomes more valuable.”
Josh Nicholls was unfortunately not retained by the Maple Leafs after the draft and signed on with the New York Rangers as a free agent in March of 2013. Nicholls is currently plying his trade in the ECHL for the Greenville Road Warriors where he has 15 points in 15 games.
2011 Draft Prospects Summaries:
Defenseman Max Everson was selected by the Maple Leafs in the 7th round of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft and soon after was caught up in an academic scandal that saw three Harvard Crimson players sent home. Although details are scarce, the players were later reinstated and Everson, who spent some time with the USHL’s Omaha Lancers has continued to show progression, at least statistically, over the years. Originally touted as a defensive defense-man with solid skating and positioning, one of the knocks on the Edina, MN native was that he was not overly imposing. That may have changed given that he now tilts the scales at 6’2”, 210lbs. It will be curious to see if the scandal derailed his career permanently but an invite to the Marlies at the end of the year could signal where Leafs management thinks he sits.
Dennis Robertson was selected in the 6th round, 173 overall by the Maple Leafs and finish out four years with Brown University where the defense-man put up pretty respectable numbers. It seems the Leafs parted ways with Robertson who is currently playing in his first full AHL season with the Charlotte Checkers after being signed to an entry level contract by the Carolina Hurricanes.
David Broll may be one of the younger prospects this year on the Marlies who is being affected to a certain degree by the number of veteran players on the squad that also have an element of grit and pugnacity. Playing mostly fourth line minutes he is another player who in my opinion is being miscast due to his size who will benefit from spending some time with the Orlando Solar Bears to refine other elements of his game. Broll has the foot speed and size to grind down other lines and could still very well develop into an effect checking line winger with PK abilities but he needs more time at the pro level working on those areas. Hockeys Future has this to say about Broll:
“With size, strength and skating ability David Broll has all the makings of a future fourth-line energy player. Broll tips the scale at nearly 240lbs, which makes him a monster to handle. With his wrecking ball style, Broll dominates opponents with thunderous body checks. He has a high work ethic and plays a consistent brand of physical hockey that will make him a nice fit to a team’s energy line. He’ll need to keep his conditioning in check and continue working on his defensive game to become a more effective pro.”
2012 Draft Prospect Summaries:
Some would take a demotion to minor pro’s as an early signal that your career had taken a wrong turn somewhere along the line but Ryan Rupert for all intents and purposes appears to have turned it to his advantage putting up 14 points in 17 games before being recalled by the Marlies where he sits at a commendable 8 points in 14 games and sits at a plus 4. Seems the move to the Solar Bears paid off for the coaching staff and Rupert appears to be putting up some much needed and valuable points for a team that is fairly desperate this year for them. Rupert has a ways to go but is showing steady and commendable growth to his game and for a rookie does not look out of place.
Not to mention he is doing things like this again:
2013 Draft Prospect Summaries:
Frabrice Herzog after a pretty slow start with Zug of the Swiss National League appears to have found his scoring touch putting up 7 points in the last 32 games as a 20 year old playing against men of which 6 of those were goals. Playing with the likes of former NHLer Pierre-Marc Bouchard and Robbie Earl, Herzog is on a pretty good Zug team that current sits 5th in the league. One can only assume given his age and the teams relative success, Herzog is most likely playing 3rd to 4th line minutes garnering valuable experience as opposed to playing an overage year in the Q or as a rookie with the Marlies for that matter and at this time and the Leafs should continue to let him to marinate in Europe for the time being.
Although coming back down to Earth a bit since the beginning of the year, Antoine Bibeau, a goalie the Maple Leafs selected in the 6th round (172nd overall) in the 2013 draft is starting to look like a real steal. Posting a solid Save Pct of 0.913 and a GAA of 2.63, Bibeau is another solid (and we mean solid at 6’2”, 210lbs) prospect in the mix with the Marlies and is making some noise.
I won’t touch the 2014 draftee’s this time around but it is safe to say that the Marlies look to be handling the development of their prospect players in a much better fashion these days and are more readily adopting the notion that shuttling younger players to Orlando to get them some much needed ice time, a kick in the pants and a boost in their confidence can pay off in spades. Hopefully a few more of those mentioned above will find their way into a top 20 list in the near future but for the most part they all appear to be headed in the right direction. As always, puck for thought.