August 27 2015 08:06AM
One of the main criticisms of the 2013 Draft for the Leafs is that they didn’t swing for the fences in the first round and instead opted for a rather safe pick in Frederik Gauthier. After that initial decision the Leafs seemed to get increasingly more adventurous through the later rounds, ultimately drafting Andreas Johnson, a 5’10 Swedish winger, 202nd overall in the 7th round.
The pick was a departure from what the Leafs had done the rest of the draft as Johnson was three inches shorter than any other player selected, and was the only one who would spend the following season playing overseas. It was his strong showing the season after he was drafted, playing in the Swedish Hockey League, that initially put Andreas on our top 20 prospect list, and now two full seasons after being drafted he’s safely in our top 10, getting votes as high as being the 5th best prospect, and sits five spots ahead of the player the Leafs took in the first round of his draft year.
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 25 2015 10:25PM
On this episode, Sasky Stewart, one of hockey's most interesting people, talks about discovering hockey in Australia, moving to Canada, and working for the NHL and CWHL. She also tells the single most cringeworthy Steve story ever.
August 25 2015 04:38PM
When it became obvious that the Leafs were getting ready for a fire sale last winter, everybody knew what they wanted back - picks, picks, and more picks. After all, great teams tend to utilize the draft to pick the members of their future core, and thanks to their age, allow for a lot of well-thought out planning to get them where they need to go.
So, naturally, when the Leafs traded Cody Franson and Mike Santorelli to the Nashville Predators, most of the focus went to the first round draft pick they acquired. But also included in the deal was Brendan Leipsic, a player who was already exceeding expectations before joining the organization and looks poised to continue to do so.