Matt Finn – D – Guelph Storm (OHL)
This is a real statement year for Matt Finn, the Leafs’ second round pick in 2012. While 11 goals and 31 points in 41 games last season is nothing to shake a stick at, Finn will look to stay healthy and take a step forward in what should be his last year in Junior.
Early on, it looks like he’s well on his way. Finn scored a goal and an assist in Sunday’ 7-4 Guelph victory over London, and is currently working a nine game point streak that includes three goals and seven helpers. With 14 points in 13 games so far this season, Finn ranks fourth in OHL scoring amongst defencemen.
We named Finn our 5th best Leafs prospect back in September, and with Colborne now wearing a Flames jersey, he now ranks a spot higher. At 6’1, 204lb, Finn has good size to go along with a strong two-way game and hard shot. He’s right up there with Stuart Percy as the Leafs’ best defensive prospect outside of Morgan Rielly.
Andreas Johnson – LW – Frolunda Indians (SEL)
Johnson spits on your expectations of a 7th round pick. Adding another goal and assist in two Frolunda victories this week brings the 18-year old’s stat line to 9 goals and 15 points in 16 games, good for the team lead in scoring and 8th in the entire Swedish Elite League.
We’re now past the ‘hot start’ point, and need to recognize that the 5’10, 170lb speedster is for real. Whether or not he can translate his offensive game to the North American game despite being undersized is a whole other story, and largely irrelevant for the time being – Johnson’s current contract with Frolunda will keep him in Sweden until 2015-16.
Still, Johnson has our attention and will likely keep it all season long. Anything resembling point-per-game season will be a huge success, and will shoot him up the depth chart.
Carter Verhaeghe – C – Niagara Ice Dogs (OHL)
It’s tough to say who’s been the most impressive 2013 draft pick so far this season, Verhaeghe or Johnson. Taken in the third round, Verhaeghe has benefited from a greater role on a young Niagara squad.
In three games last week, Verhaeghe scored a goal and two assists, and has posted at least one point in each of the Ice Dogs’ 15 games so far. He currently sits 3rd in OHL scoring with 11 goals and 28 points (behind only Niagara linemate Brendan Perlini and fellow Leafs prospect Connor Brown).
Like Johnson, Verhaeghe has elevated his stock, and is a must-watch going forward. When the TLN Leafs Prospect Midterm Rankings roll around, maybe our writing staff won’t be such big jerks and put both of these guys in our Top 20.
Other Prospect News…
Connor Brown hasn’t scored in 4 consecutive games and is a huge disappointment – ha ha just kidding – Brown leads the OHL with 11 goals and 31 points in 15 games
Frederik Gauthier potted a couple goals and added an assist in two weekend matches, bringing his season totals to five goals and 16 points in 15 games
Dominic Toninato scored his first NCAA goal in Saturday’s 4-1 Minnesota-Duluth win over Notre Dame
Max Everson is back with the Harvard this year, but did not dress for the Crimson’s 3-0 season opening victory over Bentley
Christopher Gibson earned his first pro victory with a 21-save performance on Sunday, as the Orlando Solar Bears defeated Gwinnett 4-1