TLN Top 20 Leafs Prospects Midterm Rankings: #5-#1

Justin Fisher
January 24 2014 06:02AM

#5 - Josh Leivo - LW (Toronto, AHL)

Leivo has used a solid showing in his first season as a pro with the Marlies to climb two spots and into the top five of our prospect rankings. He's also had a few looks with the Leafs this season, so the fanbase is starting to find out what this guy's about - size and skill.

Recently I took in a pair of games between the IceCaps and Marlies here in Newfoundland, and while anyone can look good in a game or two, I was surprised by Leivo. The only forward on the ice that was more noticeable offensively, for either team, was Peter Holland. 

I did notice at times that Leivo would take a safe shot rather than trying to beat a defender, but that's likely common for a kid adapting to the pros. His skill will be on display more as he continues to get used to his surroundings. Ryan Fancey

#4 - Stuart Percy - D (Toronto, AHL)

Stuart Percy may not be lighting things up in the scoring department, but he has been arguably the most impressive rookie of any Marlies forward (EDITOR'S NOTE: I could fix this and simply type "defenceman" but throwing Jeff under the bus is way funnier. Shut up, Jeffler. - Steve). Eleven assists in thirty five games is nothing to scoff at, and he's just one of seven regular skaters with a positive plus/minus (I know.. but the AHL's stats are limited). 

Percy has shown excellent positional awareness and a boatload of confidence, allowing defensive partner TJ Brennan to take more risks and be the league's most dominant offensive defenceman. He's also receiving time on the secondary penalty kill and powerplay units. Jeffler

#3 - Matt Finn - D (Guelph, OHL)

Up two spots from our preseason ranking, Matt Finn is currently enjoying a solid offensive year while captaining the OHL-leading Guelph Storm. In 44 games so far, Finn has scored 10 goals and 27 assists - his 38 points ranks third amongst OHL defencemen, and his +37 rating leads the entire league. It’s amazing what you can accomplish when you’re not being hampered by an injured knee or mononucleosis

Having signed a three-year entry level contract with the Leafs back in November, Finn will almost certainly make the jump to the AHL next season. And then the NHL shortly after. And then maybe, I don’t know, the Hall of Fame? Probably. I’m never wrong about these things. Justin Fisher

#2 - Peter Holland - C (Toronto, NHL)

Last time around, we had Joe Colborne as our runner-up prospect. This was really concerning. No disrespectful to Colborne, but what is his NHL ceiling? With Peter Holland, I feel a lot more confident. Now the issue is using him properly. 

Peter Holland is pointless in games where he plays less than ten minutes, most of which are spent playing with the likes of Colton Orr. When put in an actual offensive situation, Holland is a legitimate NHL scoring threat. The biggest factors for Holland now are big issues for other prospects his age: Consistency and the numbers game. Is Holland a consistent enough contributor yet? I have liked his play so far, but I would say no. With Trevor Smith becoming an option again soon and Dave Bolland on the mend, Holland may still see some AHL time this season before making the full-time NHL jump.  Steve Dangle

#1 - Morgan Rielly - D (Toronto, NHL)

Still a prospect by our standards, and the crown jewel of the Leafs' system. No longer just a toolsy blue chip with a lot of junior success to speak of, Morgan Rielly has legitimately been one of Toronto's better defenders this season. 

He has a +2.0 Relative Corsi For, per Extra Skater, and has the highest shots on goal rate among Toronto defencemen, with 5.0 per 60 minutes. A few months ago I think the worry was that he'd have difficulty translating his game to the NHL as a regular, especially as a 19-year-old, but nothing Rielly has done has showed me he doesn't belong. He skates wonderfully with the puck and you have to imagine that once he's allowed to roam a little in the offensive zone he'll get a few more goals. With just a 3.9% shooting percentage, things are going to get better for him in the second half of the season. Cam Charron

Links

TLN Top 20 Leafs Prospects Midterm Rankings: #10 - #6
TLN Top 20 Leafs Prospects Midterm Rankings: #15 - #11
TLN Top 20 Leafs Prospects Midterm Rankings: #20 - #16
TLN Top 20 Leafs Prospects Midterm Rankings: Honourable Mentions

 

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Justin Fisher is a Toronto-based writer of sorts. He likes hockey and comic books and sriracha sauce. He doesn't like Don Cherry. Follow him on Twitter: @thejustinfisher
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#1 kesselkadri
January 24 2014, 08:20AM
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One suggestion for this in the future it to say for example Tyler Biggs most resembles the active NHL player of Lucic or Bickell. That way we can an idea of the style of play that player provides and possible career path.

Rielly can project to be somewhere between Duncan Keith or Brian Campbell?

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#3 Cam Charron
January 24 2014, 10:46AM
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@kesselkadri

Troll so hard kesselkadri... troll so hard.

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#4 WesternDP
January 24 2014, 12:57PM
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It’s a pretty good list of 1-20 and honorable mentions.

I would put a bit more emphasis on success in the AHL and as an NHL call up, where a guy has that. Some of these other guys are so far from the NHL.

There is a major omission from the top 20...Sam Carrick. The guy has 18 points , +12 and 65 PIMs in 38 games in the AHL this year. He is only 5 points behind Greg McKegg with a much better plus/minus as McKegg is only plus one. Compare his 18 points and +12 with Biggs who only has 5 and -2.

At 21 years old, Carrick is producing at the AHL offensive level of Jerry D’amigo at his best, while playing good defence...+12 and Carrick does play the PK. Watch him get this shorthanded goal:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HkfKMoUjXlo

He also gets timely goals: game winners and can score on the shootout. He had the overtime winner last week. Spott calls him one of his best players and has mentioned a future call up to the NHL. He is solid and nasty. He has the size to play in the NHL. At 21 he is 6.0’ 207 lbs and can fight. Think a Steve Ott at center or a slightly bigger Gregory Campbell. Carrick’s OHL numbers were solid 67 points in 68 games, +15 and 104 PIMs in his final year, so this is no fluke.

This is my list: #1 - Morgan Rielly #2 - Peter Holland #3 - Josh Leivo #4 - Stuart Percy #5 - Matt Finn #6 - Carter Ashton #7 - Jerry D'Amigo #8 - Petter Granberg #9 - Frederik Gauthier #10 - Connor Brown #11 - Greg McKegg #12 - Sam Carrick #13 - Carter Verhaeghe #14 - David Broll #15 - Garret Sparks #16 - Andreas Johnson #17 - Fabrice Herzog #18 - Tyler Biggs #19 - Andrew MacWilliam #20 - Tom Nilsson

HM Dominic Toninato Victor Loov Tony Cameranesi Brad Ross

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#5 Gardiner-Reilly
January 24 2014, 03:24PM
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No Spencer Abbott or T.J Brennan? I guess they're not really prospects?

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#7 Gardiner-Reilly
January 24 2014, 04:10PM
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@Justin Fisher

Who did Brennan play for in the 40 NHL games? Just out of curiosity.

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#9 Gardiner-Reilly
January 24 2014, 06:43PM
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@Justin Fisher

Buffalo gave him away? Wow, that's brutal.

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#10 SpenceDangles
January 27 2014, 09:49PM
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would of kozun made it?

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