2015 -2016 Toronto Maple Leafs Prospect Camp Roster Invitees

The Toronto Maple Leafs have been busy pretty busy this summer, whether it be at the draft or trading Phil Kessel they still found a way to throw together a pretty solid prospect camp up in Collingwood (with the Pan Am Games in town their regular facilities were unavailable). Unlike previous years, there was a complete revamp of the camp that focused primarily on player growth as opposed to a skills demonstration with scrimmages like in previous camps. There was an absolute tonne of invites extended this year and for the entire list of players attending see the official list below:

http://mapleleafs.nhl.com/club/news.htm?id=773699

As in previous years there were some interesting invite’s extended along with the younger Maple Leafs drafted prospects (including but not limited to the likes of Nylander, Marner, Gauthier, Kapanen, Brown, Verhaeghe, Johnson, Finn, Valiev, Loov and others). Can’t imagine people were familiar with a number of the included names so I decided to throw together a bit more information on each of those that might be considered legitimate Maple Leaf prospects and who might be worth acquiring. Below are more details on the top four prospect forwards, defensemen and two goalies. The remainder are summarized after.

FORWARDS:

1. Gabe Guertler
20 years old
5’9”, 190lbs
Centre
Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds (OHL)

Stats courtesy of hockeyDB.com

Stats courtesy of hockeyDB.com

One of the more interesting forward invitee’s to camp, Gabe Guertler overaged with the Soo Greyhounds of the OHL after leaving the University of Minnesota to pursue what one can only assume was additional playing time (it is fairly well known that rookies very rarely see top line minutes at University south of the border). There is also a connection with Kyle Dubas, the former GM of the Greyhounds which most likely lead to the invite. Put up pretty solid season points and is known for solid faceoff percentages and skating but it was mentioned that he needs to work on his defensive zone coverage and composure (noted to take unnecessary penalties).

Future Considerations had a really interesting article on Guertler when he was still playing on the USHL’s Fargo Force which can be found below:

http://futureconsiderations.ca/guertler-battling-through-draft-year/

2. Michael Joly
20 years old
5’11”, 172lbs
Right Wing
Rimouski Oceanic (QMJHL)

Stats courtesy of hockeyDB.com

Stats courtesy of hockeyDB.com

Joly who hails from Gatineau, Quebec had his season derailed by injury but was most likely already on the Leaf’s scouting staff radar given that he plays on the same team as Fredrick Gauthier. Potentially viewed as undersized, Joly was passed over twice in the draft but did attend camp with the Buffalo Sabres last year and possesses some intriguing qualities one of which is summed up nicely in the video below:

Joly appears to at least statistically speaking be a pretty clutch playoff performer however according to WildcatMapleLeafs28 on HFBoard’s who has watch Joly play quite a bit this last year “He has good IQ , great hands and a shot but isn’t the best skater and doesn’t play a 200 foot game”. Would be curious to see his advanced stats as it may have been the reason an invitation was extended. Maple Leafs Hot Stove also had an interesting article about his attendance which can be found below:

http://mapleleafshotstove.com/2015/06/09/maple-leafs-invite-michael-joly-to-training-camp/

3. Alex Kile
21 years old
6’0″, 190lbs
Left Wing
University of Michigan (Big-10)

Stats courtesy of hockeyDB.com

Stats courtesy of hockeyDB.com

Kile produced solid numbers in his sophomore season playing with Zach Hyman at the University of Michigan, putting up 26 points (13 goals) in 36 games; he is a great combination of size (6’0″, 190lbs), speed and silky smooth hands. The 21 year old winger appears to have grown in terms of both physical size and overall game and at the same point in his career has surpassed both Casey Bailey and the aforementioned Hyman and is an intriguing invitee to say the least. There was a great review over at SBNation/MaizenBrew found below:

http://www.maizenbrew.com/2015/6/23/8831583/nhl-draft-preview-alex-kile

4. Nikolai Skladnichenko
20 years old
6’0″, 198lbs
Centre
Metallurg Novokuznetsk (KHL)

Stats courtesy of hockeyDB.com

Stats courtesy of hockeyDB.com

Skladnichenko is already playing in the KHL with some regularity, putting up 5 points in 16 games with Metallurg this past season. Has good size at 6’0″, 190lbs and was selected to the Russian World Junior U20 team in 2014 while also being included on the roster for the Subway Super Series in 2013. It is mentioned that he has an incredibly hard wrist shot although beyond that there really isn’t a whole lot of information out there about him. Put up 50 points in 42 games as a 15 year old playing in the GMHL (junior A) for the Bobcaygeon Bucks before returning to Russia. Could be another interesting name to watch out for.

DEFENSEMEN:

1. Gavin Bayreuther
21 years old
6’1″, 195lbs
Defense
St. Lawrence University (ECAC)

After being passed over in previous drafts, Gavin Bayreuther could be another prime example of a late blooming defenseman who is just starting to find his stride and is currently regarded as one of the top offensive defensemen in the NCAA. Know for an absolutely blistering slapshot and solid offensive awareness with great vision, areas of potential improvement mentioned include both skating and conditioning. The Canaan, New Hampshire native and cousin to current NHLer Ben Lovejoy of the Anaheim Ducks could be an interesting dark horse prospect if Barb Underhill can get here hands on him on a regular basis. Here is a great overview of Bayreuther by powerplaycj14 over on Youtube:

2. Nikolas Brouillard
20 years old
5’11”, 168lbs
Defense
Quebec Remparts (QMJHL)

Potentially another case of teams being scared off by a players size especially given the position he plays, Brouillard has been passed over at the draft and two training camps despite posting some pretty impressive offensive numbers in the QMJHL. It was reported via le Soleil that the Maple Leafs had already been in touch with Brouillard’s agent even before the end of the season and that an invitation to the development camp was extended right after the draft; given the assumed interest I am looking forward to seeing if there is another invitation to come. Appears to have offensive awareness, skating and hands but it was mentioned that his defensive game needs work (along with all other offensively minded defensemen it seems).

3. Aiden Jamieson
19 years old
6’2″, 185lbs
Defense
London Knights (OHL)

A definite Mark Hunter invite given the team Jamieson plays for, he would be quite familiar with the player who for all accounts is a solid defenseman with decent puck moving skills and ability to drive play (given the number of assists he racked up last year) with size and room to grow. Bill Placzek over at DraftSite.com had this to say about Jamieson:

“Terrific skating rearguard who is a second year eligible. The issue is that he has balance issues during contact, so he is less engaging than you expect. Plays lighter than he is. Has developed a bit more but this a long term developmental prospect.”

So potentially another late bloomer that has potential and size who I would not be disappointed to see invited to prospect camp.

4. Connor Boland
20 years old
6’3″, 194lbs
Sault Ste. Marie Greyhouds (OHL)

The Whitby, Ontario native completed his overage year with the Soo Greyhounds after being traded from the Peterborough Pete’s with Nick Ritchie (a team he captained) putting up totals of 22 points in 61 games and finishing the season with a plus/minus of 20. Given the familiarity that Kyle Dubas has with the Greyhounds it was good to see Boland’s included as you can be assured there is something he may know about the prospect over other teams scouts that could be advantageous to the club.

Three games into the 2012-13 season, he was diagnosed with mononucleosis and missed seven weeks. A big strong defenseman who plays with an edge and beat attackers who go one on one with him. A solid passer in transistion. Bill Placzek at DraftSite.com

You have to root for a guy that also throws hits like the one below at a camp no less 🙂

GOALIES:

1. Alex Lyon
22 years old
6’1″, 200lbs
Yale University (ECAC)

Stats courtesy of hockeyDB.com

Stats courtesy of hockeyDB.com

Alex Lyon was quite possibly the most recognizable name invited to the Maple Leafs development camp, an undrafted goalie playing for Yale who has put up the best statistical numbers of the entire ECAC with a 1.62 goals against average paired with a .939 save percentage along with 7 shutouts which landed him the Ken Dryden Award as the league’s most outstanding goalie. Chances are Lyon will return to Yale and will therefore be ineligible to join the Leafs for the upcoming rookie camp but definitely a player to keep a tab on.

“You knew what you were going to get every day at practice, every weekend going into games. He has the right combination of physical ability, mental toughness and hockey sense. To me, that’s why he’s a really good goalie.” Keith Allain, Yale Coach via the New Haven Register.

2. Lucas Peressini
20 years old
6’2″, 188lbs
Kingston Frontenacs (OHL)

Stats courtesy of hockeyDB.com

Stats courtesy of hockeyDB.com

Taking the majority of the starts for a fairly average Frontenacs team, Peressini posted the second best Goals Against Average (GAA) in the entire OHL last season behind Ken Appleby of the championship Oshawa Generals and eventual Memorial Cup winners, not bad company to be in which also landed Peressini the OHL Goaltender of the Year award for his efforts.. Possesses decent size at 6’2″ although I was amazed to see comments made online that he was considered small for a goalie.

There was a great article on the Whig about Peressini which can be found below:

http://www.thewhig.com/2014/11/27/peressini-among-ohls-best-goalies

So there you have it, outlines of some of the more interesting invitee’s to attend the Maple Leafs development camp but by all means were not the only ones that attended that may be worth watching in the months/years to come. Below are small snippets of the remaining invitee’s who attended.

REMAINING FORWARDS:

Stephen Baylis is a 20 year old winger playing Junior A for the Carleton Place Canadians of the Central Canada Hockey League (CCHL) who was in the top 10 in terms of overall points in the league with 69 points in 54 games who possesses good size at 6’0″, 186lbs. Has incredible speed mixed with equal parts grit.

Scott Eansor is a 19 year old center who just finished his second year with the Seattle Thunderbirds of the WHL putting up 37 points in 72 games; possible playoff performer with 5 goals in 6 playoff games. Undersized at 5’9″ 170lbs who’s season was severely impacted by a bout of mononucleosis, has good speed and above average hockey sense.

Viktor Liljegran is a 21 year old native of Stockholm, Sweden currently plying his trade as a left winger with R.P.I. of the ECAC. Put up 12 points in 40 games playing as a rookie but possesses size at 6’3″ 200lbs and at one point lead the team in goals. Danny Martin of newsminer.com had a good article about him found here http://www.newsminer.com/sports/ice_dogs/newcomer-liljegren-adjusts-quickly-to-ice-dogs/article_11c526fe-30b7-11e3-b034-001a4bcf6878.html

Kevin Rooney is a 22 year old centre who just finished up his third year playing for Providence College putting up 15 points in 41 games. Good size at 6’2″, 190lbs who is a solid two way forward with good faceoff skills.

Zack Saar is an absolute monster tilting the scales at 6’5″ 236lbs and at only 22 years old could find his game catch up to his rapid growth. Had a disappointing sophomore season but could be one to watch out for if he can put it all together as you just “can’t teach size”.

REMAINING DEFENSEMEN:

Matthew Abt is a 21 year old good Albertan boy finishing up his freshman year with R.I.T. putting up 9 points in 33 games. Possesses size at 6’4″, 180lbs who’s development should be monitored in the coming years.

Brien Diffley is a 20 year old finishing his freshman year with Boston University where he put up 11 points in 40 games. Also possesses size at 6’2″, 184lbs. SB Nation has a great article about Diffley found here http://www.sbncollegehockey.com/hockey-east/2015/6/25/8844947/2015-nhl-draft-prospect-brien-diffley-boston-university-defenseman-ncaa-bu

Nolan Gluchowski put up a solid 16 points in 29 games as a rookie defender for St. Lawrence University. The 21 year also has some size at 6’0″ 196lbs and has ties to Babcock, see article here http://www.miprepzone.com/oakland/results.asp?ID=12189

Jordan Gross is a solid offensive defenseman putting up 28 points in 42 games for Notre Dame. The 20 year old is a little undersized at 5’10” 177lbs. Bill Placzek over at DraftSite.com has this to say about Gross Long term developmental defenseman prospect who displays exceptional mobility, and feet. Possesses a huge deadly shot. Makes a good breakout pass and handles the puck well. Needs time to get bigger and stronger. Was named to the U.S. World Junior A roster for the Junior A Challenge.

Cameron Lizotte is a 17 year old patrolling the blueline for the Peterborough Pete’s of the OHL who put up a modest 9 points in 67 games with an unusually high number of PIM’s. Has NHL size at 6’2″, 193lbs and is characterized as a rough and tumble type of player. Originally cracked the NHL Central Scouting rankings at 99 but remained undrafted, Lizotte may be a project worth spending more development time with.

Brendan Miller deserves an honorable mention and I really should have included him in my outlines above. At only 21 years old, the 6’1″, 190lbs defensemen put up a staggering 55 points in 65 games playing for the North Bay Battalion, adding a further 12 points in 15 playoff games. It is almost a mystery how he went undrafted and here is hoping the Leafs add him to the upcoming main camp taking place later this summer. Brock Otten over at OHL Prospects had this to say about Miller “Miller’s had an absolutely fantastic OHL playoffs, which is obviously something scouts key in on. He has good size and plays in all situations for North Bay, including helping to quarterback their powerplay. He’s also slowly developed into their premier puck rusher/mover, but has added more of a physical element to his game this year. At 6’1, 200lbs, Miller has the size to develop into a quality two-way player at the next level and has blossomed under the tutelage of Stan Butler.”

Will Reilly is a 17 year old from Toronto playing for the North York Rangers of the OJHL. Put up 35 points in 47 goals and has good size already at 6’2″, 190lbs. Looking forward to tracking his progress over the next couple of years. McKeens had a great write about him found here http://www.mckeenshockey.com/uncategorized/scouting-william-reilly-2015-nhl-draft/

REMAINING GOALIES:

Collin Delia put up solid numbers with Merrimack College with a 1.86 Goals Against Average and 0.937 Save Percentage. Has size at 6’2″ 190lbs and was scouted by a number of Division 1 schools. Another strong candidate to watch for in the coming years.

Justin Nicols is an interesting addition who originally signed at ATO with the Toronto Marlies of which more information can be found at The Leafs Nation here http://theleafsnation.com/2015/4/21/marlies-sign-justin-nichols-to-an-ato Not often you see expressed interest in a goalie that only stands 5’9″ so definitely curious to see him play at camp.

Quite an interesting trend of some larger bodies who were invited to camp mixed in with a couple of definite dark horse prospects. Looking forward to seeing who in the coming months gets invited to camp as there are definitely a couple I am personally keen to watch.

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2014 – 2015 Toronto Maple Leafs Rookie Tournament Invitees

Although I have not yet been able to locate any news releases or tangible outlines by either the Toronto Maple Leafs or another reputable source to substantiate the below in terms of the fixed roster for the upcoming Rookie Tournament in September, it was mentioned on HFboards.com that the club had extended invitations to the following players for the upcoming rookie camp in September:

Waltteri Hopponen, Parker Bowles, Ty Bilckie, Zach Bratina, Kayle Doetzel, Cory Donaghey, Jeremie Fraser, Zach Hall, Luke Philp

Some of the names were quite surprising given they had attending the prospect camp as invitee’s as well (Donaghey in particular) so you have to wonder if they made a positive impression but the remainder were no less intriguing and I thought we should expand on the players to get a better idea of whether they may be attending just for the experience or are the Maple Leafs hoping to get an extended look at their potential skill level.

Waltteri Hopponen
Left Wing
18 years old
6’2″, 192lbs
Sioux City Musketeers – USHL

Of course the first player would be one of the more difficult to find information on. Waltteri Hopponen a product of Espoo, Finland spent last season in North America in the USHL with the Sioux City Musketeers putting up 31 points in the first 54 games of his rookie campaign. Has represented Finland on the international stage a number of times, including more recently the Ivan Hlinka tournament. Not sure if I am missing something on Hopponen but stumbled across a 2013 ISS draft ranking for the 2014 draft that had him ranked #25 overall http://www.tsn.ca/draftcentre/feature/?id=9755 yet to my knowledge he went undrafted, obviously the Leafs must see something given the invitation that others may not have.

“Finnish winger who started his North American career with Everett in the Dub, but after one game moved on to the USHL Sioux City Musketeers he showed good tools and ability to play a two-way game. Makes a pest in the offensive zone. At this juncture he is more of a straight line quickness once he gets up steam. Has good balance and is very strong and physical along the wall. Is physically strong and uses his reach with his stick to get the puck back. Can stickhandle and cooly make plays without panic but tends to make him himself available in a passing lane as opposed to attempting to over handling his possessions. He does have strong wrister. A team that thinks he can continue to add physicality and develop a bit more attack skill will select him and let him grow. —Bill Placzek—” via Draftsite.com

Parker Bowles
Center
19 years old
6’0″, 181lbs
Tri-City Americans – WHL

In no way related to Camila, at least to my knowledge (see Prince Charles) Bowles who is a 19 year old center currently playing for the Tri-City Americans, put up 40 points in a limited 39 games due to various injuries (knee, shoulder) but appears to be a pretty savvy invitee, although chances are he may be snapped up in the draft next year if he can remain healthy.

“Though various injuries have limited him to just 11 games thus far, he has scored at nearly a two points-per-game clip when he’s made it into the lineup. We guarantee he’ll be worth the price of admission for scouts in Tri-City once he gets back to full health.” Kyle Woodlief, USA TODAY Sports

According to ExtraSkater.com Bowles has some solid statistics to back up comments like those made above, seeing plenty of power play time and leading the team in a number of measurable categories like contributing to a large number of points when on the ice.

Ty Bilckie
Right Wing
20 years old
6’2″, 217lbs
Windsor Spitfires – OHL

Bilchkie an Exeter, Ontario native appears to have made a junior career out of collecting a large number of penalty minutes, through no fault of his own I am sure. Although the role of pugilist is apparently coming to a noticeable end in the NHL, Bilckie has been mentioned as an energy player who may have more to offer the team than I am giving him credit for. With decent skating and solid forechecking, a large body that can grind down oppositions top lines is still an asset to be considered this day and age.

Image courtesy of the North Bay Nugget

Zach Bratina
Left Wing
18 years old
6’1″, 183lbs
North Bay Battalion – OHL

Zach Bratina is still viewed as a possible first round selection in the draft by some according to what has been written online about him. A tremendous skater who has a physical side to his game and deft hands has plenty of tools and 30 points in 58 games split between the Saginaw Spirit and the North Bay Battalion exudes promise. Bratina has shown an increase in production at the second portion of last season and here is hoping he can continue that throughout the next season. For more on Bratina see the video below:

Kayle Doetzel
Defense
19 years old
6’3″, 190lbs
Red Deer Rebels – WHL

For more information on Doetzel who attended the Maple Leafs prospect camp as an invitee please see my earlier post below. That being said something must have caught the Leafs eye with Doetzel given the second extended invitation he has received. “Doetzel is a shutdown defender for the Red Deer Rebels. He skates well, loves to play a physical game and blocks shots. I don’t necessarily see a ton of offensive ability but he takes no prisoners defensively. I see him as having good potential as a future bottom pairing NHL defenceman.” CJN from WHL from Above.

Cody Donaghey
Defense
18 years old
6’1″, 182lbs
Quebec Remparts – QMJHL

For more information on Donaghey who attended the Maple Leafs prospect camp as an invitee please see my earlier post below. That being said, pretty excited to see him return for another crack with the organization for a potential roster spot, of all the invitee’s attending, given what has been said about Donaghey in the past, I am personally really excited to see how he does.

Jérémie Fraser
Defense
19 years old
6’2″, 208lbs
Val d’Or Foreurs – QMJHL

A third defenseman invited who also attended the prospect camp and another potentially solid defensive defenseman, you have to wonder with Fraser and Donaghey if the Maple Leafs are considering adding another defenseman to their prospect group. My assumption based on my last article is they may extend an AHL contract to one of these players much like Zach Yuen whom I was really happy to see join the organization. For more information on Fraser, please see my earlier post below.

Image courtesy of Turning Point Sports Management

Zach Hall
Center
21 years old
5’11”, 185lbs
Barrie Colts – OHL

Throwing up a solid 70 points in 57 games for the Colts in his overage year, Hall is an intriguing prospect along the mold of Adam Hughesman who just recently signed with the Reading Royals of the ECHL (keep it up Adam!). Hall appears to be a prototypical late bloomer and although rated 158 in Central Scouting’s 2013 draft ranking, thehockeywriters.com indicated that Hall was “A good skater with excellent vision and playmaking ability…” and his high number of assists would definitely lend to that theory. Potentially another dark horse to watch out for.

Image courtesy of the Montreal Gazette

Luke Philp
Center
18 years old
5’10”, 177lbs
Kootenay Ice – WHL

Philp was the third highest scorer on the Kootenay Ice behind Sam Reinhart and Jaedon Descheneau putting up 77 points in 71 games and surpassing the 30 goal mark in only his second season with the team. Draft eligible in the 2014, Philp was ranked 80th amongst North American Skaters by Central Scouting (107 overall if I have these numbers figured out correctly). I couldn’t put much more information together that what was outlined about him on The Hockey Writers, so head over there at the link below to get a better read on Philp, its definitely worth it:

http://thehockeywriters.com/luke-philp-the-next-ones-2014-nhl-draft-prospect-profile/

So with all that being said, these are some pretty intriguing additions made to this years rookie tournament roster, especially if you look at the invitee’s in years past. Not knocking the collection of players who have attended in the past but the above definitely appears like management has made a concerned effort to have players attend this year that are legitimate prospects and possible assets for the club to consider in the future as opposed to just invitee’s to fill roster spots. Mixed in with the rest of the Maple Leafs prospects, I am personally really looking forward to seeing them hit the ice in September and hopefully they all make a positive impression before the end. As always, puck for thought.