You’ve probably noticed our minds have been focused on the Leafs prospects this week as we’ve been counting down the TLN Top 20 Midterm Rankings. (6-10, 11-15, 16-20, Honourable Mentions, and top five tomorrow)
It’s nice to see that we aren’t alone in looking at prospects and Corey Pronman of ESPN has put out a new list of the top 50 prospects around the league (ESPN Insider paywall, but worth it).
What’s really encouraging for Leafs fans is the fact that there are four Toronto names in the Top 50 (with one more as an honourable mention) and 2 of them are in the top 3.
#2. Mitch Marner
love watching Marner play because he has such an exciting element to his game.
His combination of speed, hands and hockey IQ are so rare to find.
#3. William Nylander
healthy, he’s a filthy offensive weapon, with high-end if not elite speed,
hands and passing skills
#26. Kasperi Kapanen
speed and hands are top-end, and he can be so hard to contain coming through
the neutral zone or when he gets the puck with space.
#44. Connor Brown
a very intelligent two-way forward with decent-to-solid speed and hands, and a
great work ethic.
HM: Travis Dermott
You can read the full write-ups of those prospects and others at ESPN, and paying for insider access is worth it, if only to get Pronman’s articles.
As you can see from our rankings to date, Pronman has a slightly different order than us as Connor Brown is 8th on our list, and Dermott is 6th. Some of us are more critical of Brown’s skating and feel that his injury this season has hurt his standing. Dermott was a player we were all in more of an agreement on, but are fans of two players who didn’t make Pronman’s list and I’m not ready to spoil our top five prospects list tomorrow for you.
When we look at Pronman’s rankings from the summer we can see the standing of the Leafs prospects improving. While some of this can be attributed be attributed to players like Connor McDavid, Jack Eichel, and others moving onto NHL careers, having players generally move up in the standings are encouraging.
Jeremy Bracco was the only Leaf to fall out of the top 50 from the summer, and this may not be surprising due to his transition from Boston College to Kitchener and the fact that he was left off the US World Juniors Team. Connor Brown did, however, fill the void as he climbed over 30 spots despite being injured, and Dermott has gone from being an honourable mention on the top 100 to an honourable mention on the top 50.
No matter what your thoughts are on Corey’s rankings or the TLN rankings, you have to be encouraged by the number of high-end players presently in the Leafs system, and the fact that there will be more on the way thanks to a stockpile of 2016 draft picks.
Gone are the days of considering Brad Ross being a top organizational prospect.