Welcome to the 2015 TLN Toronto Maple Leafs Top 20 Prospects rankings, our annual prospect countdown that we will carry through the next few weeks. We’ll laugh, we’ll cry… We’ll probably fight a lot. The point is, we’re going to be diving head first into the Leafs’ prospect pool and harshly judging a group of teenagers, hyping up their strengths and brutally criticizing them for their weaknesses! Yay!
The TLN staff who took part in the rankings include Jeff Veillette, Shawn Reis, Ryan Fancey, Jon Steitzer, Bobby Cappuccino, Adam Laskaris and myself.
We’ve made some changes to our rankings this year, simplifying the process by using Calder Trophy eligibility rules to define prospects.
To be eligible for the award, a player cannot have played more than 25 games in any single preceding season nor in six or more games in each of any two preceding seasons in any major professional league. Beginning in 1990-91, to be eligible for this award a player must not have attained his twenty-sixth birthday by September 15th of the season in which he is eligible.
Because of this, 22-year old Josh Leivo is ineligible for these rankings, having played in nine NHL games last season and in seven the previous year. Obviously this is a bit of a peculiar situation, since Leivo is still young and still has a relatively decent shot at becoming an NHL player, but those are the rules. Sorry, Josh.
As for who is eligible for this year’s rankings? Well, pretty much everyone else. I know that every year we claim things like “this is a new-look prospect pool”, but it’s really startling to see just how different this year’s list looks from even our 2014 Midterm rankings. This time around, there’s a total of 10 new faces in our Top 20. That’s ridiculous.
To find out who ranks 20th on our list, you’ll have to come back tomorrow. And as for the rest of the group that didn’t make the cut, we’ll be sprinkling in depth prospect coverage throughout the series. It’s going to be wall-to-wall prospect talk.
Stay tuned. It’s going to be a fun month.