September 24 2015 08:40AM
Whether the Leafs are good or bad this year, they currently hold 11 draft picks in the 2016 draft. Two of those are in the first round. And we know that the team wants to "rebuild" -- whether that's by bottoming out and recouping a lottery pick or just plain acquiring good young assets, all expectations are the team is going to place paramount emphasis on the draft moving forward as they attempt to bring the team back towards respectability. Bottom line: this isn't just a big year for the new players, coaches, and hockey ops personnel. It's a big year for the scouts, too.
Because the draft is going to be so important for the team moving forward, because fans are increasingly looking for information related to the draft, and because we here at TLN just plain love to scout, we're hoping to up our draft coverage this year and bring unprecedented quality draft coverage to the Barilkosphere for the 2015-2016 hockey calendar year. That starts today, with our first of many posts leading up to the 2016 draft next June.
Follow us past the jump, where we'll unveil our full top 10 for the 2016 draft, with detailed profiles to accompany each player.
Jeff Veillette (Jeffler)
September 24 2015 07:30AM
William Nylander's pre-season has gotten off to a good start. He looked significantly better than any player in the London Rookie Tournament, Leafs or otherwise, and his offensive instincts have somehow become even more obvious as he's faced more difficult opponents in the pre-season. If anything, he almost looks held back by his linemates, who often aren't expecting him to make his upper-echelon plays to get them the puck.
It's not crazy to deem him ready for the NHL, but at the same time, the present situation might not make that the most opportune scenario for either side. This leaves the Toronto Marlies, who he spent the lattter half of last year playing for, as his likely destination. The question from there is a simple one: "What could he do with a full season?"
While far from a guarantee, there's a distinct possibility that everybody's favourite Calgary-born Swede could become the first teenager in the history of the American Hockey League to hit the 100 point plateau.
September 24 2015 06:30AM
Joffrey Lupul has a cap hit of $5.25 million this season. He'll earn $6.75 million in salary.
Joffrey Lupul missed 27 games last season. He hasn't played more than 70 games in a year since 2009.
Joffrey Lupul had 21 points last season. He scored one goal in his last 29 games. He's 32.
All of these things mean that we're going to need to establish some very different expectations for a player that is very recently removed from being one the Leafs best offensive options and while he may be better than his 21 points in 55 game performance, returning to his point per game pace or even his .63 ppg pace may be a stretch.
September 23 2015 04:48PM
Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports
#1 - Morgan Reilly
The consensus pick to establish himself as an elite player, Morgan Reilly is the only Leaf that can be depended on to have a strong season. After posting 27 points in a solid rookie campaign, Reilly followed-up with a 29 point performance in his sophomore year – on a team that lost 40 of the last 51 games.
This year, expect Reilly to put up bigger offensive numbers, challenging the 40 point mark as the Leafs most talented defenceman.
September 23 2015 12:08PM
William Nylander has looked pretty damn good in two preseason games so far. His skating is top notch, his creativity is excellent and most importantly he's produced on the scoresheet. Sure, we're pretty early in the process of cutting down the roster, but it certainly looks like Nylander will stick around until the end and either make the team or be one of its last cuts. So, which way should it go?