September 04 2015 10:55AM
It literally could not be any closer.
During our voting process, Mitch Marner edged out William Nylander as the Toronto Maple Leafs' top prospect by just a single vote, with four of the seven voters leaning Marner and three leaning Nylander.
Personally, I went back and forth on the matter several times before submitting my final list. At first, I leaned Nylander. A true blue chip prospect when he was drafted by the Leafs with the eighth overall pick in the 2014 Draft, Nylander still somehow managed to exceed expectations with both MODO and the Toronto Marlies last season. His scoring clip - 20 points in 21 games in the SHL, 32 in 37 in the AHL - as an 18-year old in both leagues was insane.
Then I started gravitating towards Marner, who was still playing junior hockey against admittedly lesser competition, but putting up a significant amount of points in his own right. The Markham, Ontario native scored 44 goals and 126 points in 63 games with the London Knights of the OHL, which is just about as impressive as Nylander's accomplishments as a first year pro.
Why Marner over Nylander, then?
September 02 2015 04:39PM
We did it. It took us nearly a month, but we at TLN have finally named our all-time greatest Leafs team. It's a sight to behold - the organization's best talent, stretching from Babe Dye in 1919 all the way to Phil Kessel in 2015.
Continue on for a summary of all our All-Time Team picks, as well as our final lineup and All-Time coaching staff. If you disagree with our picks, don't hesitate to leave a comment! You'll still be wrong, since we are right, but hey...
Kidding! Check out your Toronto Maple Leafs All-Time Team past the jump...
August 26 2015 04:44PM
I'm going to go ahead and call out my fellow TLN writers (except for Jeffler, who's more of a Canucks writer anyway, lol) for ranking Connor Brown too low. I had Brown as the Toronto Maple Leafs' fourth best prospect, while all of the other voters (except Jeff) did not. They are all wrong.
In last year's midterm ranking, Brown sat in the #4 spot (while I ranked him third). With no major prospect graduations, a great 2015 draft and a Phil Kessel trade since those rankings took place, it was to be expected that Brown could be pushed down a few spots through no fault of his know. But to drop all the way down to eight is insane and unjust. Maybe I am too bullish on Brown, but I think I have good reason.
August 26 2015 08:07AM
As we continue our TLN Top 20 Prospects countdown, it's important to remember and recognize the special players that paved the way for tomorrow's stars. Here's the next player to join our first ever TLN All-Time Greatest Leafs team...
With most of these player profiles, we often start off by describing the player's junior hockey career... Things like where they learned to play hockey, what junior league they came up through, and their statistical accomplishments at the amateur level.
For Syl Apps, that kind of stuff almost doesn't exist.
Yes, he played hockey with the varsity team at McMaster University, but Apps was probably better known as a Marauders football player. In fact, it was on the gridiron that Conn Smythe scouted the stand-out athlete and reportedly offered him an NHL contract before he even saw Apps on skates.
August 21 2015 02:24PM
According to his Hockey Hall of Fame bio, George Armstrong gained his famous nickname all the way back in his junior hockey days.
During the 1950 Allan Cup tournament where Armstrong was playing with the OHA Toronto Marlboros, the team visited Alberta's Stoney Indian Reserve. When the locals heard of Armstrong's Algonquin heritage, they presented him with a ceremonial headdress and named him "Big Chief Shoot the Puck".
Ultimately, it was only 'Chief' that stuck, but it was fitting nonetheless. Over his 21-year career, Armstrong played more games in a Leafs uniform, wore the 'C' on his chest for longer, and lead the Toronto Maple Leafs to more Stanley Cups - in 1962, 1963, 1964 and 1967 - than anyone else in team history. Never mind whether he should be on TLN's All-Time team; Armstrong probably has the greatest argument for being named the captain.