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:
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.
1. Gabe Guertler
20 years old
Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds (OHL)
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:
2. Michael Joly
20 years old
Rimouski Oceanic (QMJHL)
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:
3. Alex Kile
21 years old
University of Michigan (Big-10)
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:
4. Nikolai Skladnichenko
20 years old
Metallurg Novokuznetsk (KHL)
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.
1. Gavin Bayreuther
21 years old
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
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
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
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
1. Alex Lyon
22 years old
Yale University (ECAC)
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
Kingston Frontenacs (OHL)
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:
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.
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”.
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/
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.