January 11 2016 09:04AM
As we approach the half-way point of the Toronto Maple Leafs' season this Wednesday, there's no better time to take stock of the organization's best young talent. In our preseason rankings, we saw a huge number of 2015 draftees debut on the list and displace a lot of incumbents. Now we see, after a half-season, we see who's made big impressions and who's disappointed.
In past years, we've had more complicated criteria for defining a prospect. At the start of this season, we decided to simplify things and go by Calder Trophy eligibility. Essentially, if you're eligible to win Rookie of the Year honours, you're eligible for our list. As such, one name you might expect to see but won't is 22-year old Joshua Leivo. Two brief stints in the NHL makes him ineligible.
As for who actually took part in these rankings, nine of our writers submitted lists - Jeff Veillette, Jon Steitzer, Ryan Fancey, Cat Silverman, Bobby Cappuccino, Shawn Reis, Adam Laskaris, Tom Hunter and myself.
So, can Mitch Marner hold on to the top spot? How does the trading away of Carter Verhaeghe and Matt Finn affect the results? Have any goalies impressed enough to crack the list?
It'll be very interesting to see how things play out, but before we really get into it, let's take a look at the prospects who just missed out on the Top 20 list. Here are our honourable mentions... players that received votes from our staff, but didn't accumulate enough points to stick.
January 11 2016 08:15AM
You know it's a bad Monday morning when you wake up to learn about David Bowie passing away. Your Monday doesn't get any better when you read this...
Yes, it's been fun watching the Leafs play the role of the plucky underdog who manages to find more wins than anyone reasonably expected them to, but with JVR out until March, it's time to shift our attention back to tanking.
January 11 2016 06:50AM
It's Monday, and that means it's mailbag day. I'll be taking over for Jeff this week, and look for other members of the TLN writing staff to take the wheel in future weeks as well. They're all (relatively) smart people and they all have (relatively) good opinions (sometimes).
Let's get to it.
Morin scores first goal in the Leafs organization as Marlies finish first half of season with victory
January 10 2016 01:18AM
Before we even talk about the game, I want to devote a moment to the jerseys you see in front of you. These are the Manitoba Moose. The thing on the front of the jersey is not a Moose. It is decidedly a polar bear.
I don't even mind; it's a great polar bear. Supposedly, this was the branding, under the Manitoba Polar Bears name that True North would have used if the NHL didn't let them take back the Winnipeg Jets branding. So, with a sponsorship deal in place with a local zoo, they brought them out for the night.
As it happens, the Moose not only didn't show up as a crest, they didn't exactly show up as a team either, making tonight a very easy night for the Toronto Marlies, who easily walked away with a 4-1 victory.