I feel Brendan Leipsic is one of the most overlooked prospects within the Maple Leafs’ development system. It’s a simple case, really. Leipsic is one of a plethora of under-6’0″ wingers that the Leafs have ownership of. It’s not hard to lower your expectations of him when there isn’t that much pressure for him to succeed. Not everyone can get an NHL job and so if it’s one of the other small wingers instead of Leipsic, no one will be upset.
But it’s important to pay attention to Leipsic, as he brings a lot of tools to the game that maybe the others do not. I sincerely believe that, if given an opportunity, he’ll have a successful first NHL season next year.
|Jeff||Ryan H.||Shawn||Ryan F.||Adam||Dom||Jess||Katy||Readers|
Leipsic was placed 9th in our 2015 rankings.
|LW||Winnipeg, MB||5’9||165||Left||Toronto Marlies||Trade (2015)|
|2007-08||13||Winnipeg Monarchs Bntm AAA Div 2||WBAAA2||28||20||15||35||N/A||62||N/A|
|2008-09||14||Winnipeg Monarchs Bantam AAA||WBAAA||29||16||20||36||N/A||38||N/A|
|2009-10||15||Winnipeg Wild Midget AAA||MMHL||41||23||40||63||N/A||38||N/A|
|2014-15||20||Milwaukee / Toronto||AHL||74||14||40||54||28.12||22||5|
|2015-16||21||Toronto Maple Leafs||NHL||6||1||2||3||41||2||-1|
After tearing up the town with a loaded Portland Winterhawks team (from 2012-2014 they featured a season or two of Nic Petan, Oliver Bjorkstrand, Seth Jones, Ty Rattie, Derrick Pouliot, Taylor Leier, and Matt Dumba), many considered Leipsic a passenger on that roster, as they did with Petan when he was drafted.
But since, Leipsic has proven his doubters wrong, scoring 54 points in his rookie AHL season, and matched the same total points (in 9 fewer games) this past season. He’s undoubtedly had AHL success. Will he be able to bring the same success to the NHL?
|pGPSn||pGPSs||pGPS%||pGPS PPG||pGPS PP82||pGPSr|
|146 (6/18)||61 (5/18)||41.8% (7/18)||0.57 (9/18)||46.82 (9/18)||23.85 (8/18)|
- pGPSn: The number of matches between the subject and the player-seasons (one season by a single player, i.e, John Tavares 2008 OHL) in the historical sample.
- pGPSs: The number of statistical matches that became NHL regulars. This is determined by playing 200 NHL games.
- pGPS%: Simply s divided by n, this is the percentage of statistical matches that successfully became NHL players.
- pGPS PPG: The NHL points per game of successful matches.
- pGPS P82: The same as pGPS PPG, but stretched over 82 games.
- pGPSr: A bit of a hybrid number, this pGPS Rating combines the percentage and points per game to produce a number that includes both likelihood of success and potential upside.
Based on the success of his historical comparables, Leipsic is projected to become a middle-six forward.
To learn more about the Prospect Graduation Probabilities System, check out this post.
pGPSr has a strong correlation with NHL P/GP, around 45%. This is significantly stronger than Corsi has with winning. Leipsic’s 23.85 is likely near the center of the distribution (i.e. average changes of success), but I haven’t looked at the histogram personally. A pGPS% of 41.8% is really strong; that’s about the same chances of success as a 20-25th overall pick at the time of the pick.
The Eye Test
Leipsic is a small but feisty player, as many have been told. He isn’t a dirty player by any means, but gets under the opponents skin in the same way (but not to the same degree) as Brendan Gallagher or our own Leo Komarov. He also doesn’t really back it up with the same punishing physicality that Komarov does.
His scoring ability comes from really slick skating, and puck control talents that few in the AHL can keep up with. He needs to work on his shooting, not on the shot necessarily but from where he takes shots from. He’ll likely see a significant scoring increase if he can display the strength and creativity required to get chances in the slot at the NHL level.
As Seen on TV
Here we can see Leipsic score one of the coolest 1st NHL goals I’ve ever seen (though not the prettiest). Have a look:
Last season, Leipsic got a 6 game stay with the NHL club. Too short to do any real analysis on (generally you need about 15 games for Score Adjusted Corsi, 20 for xGF%), but it was a nice glimpse into him as a player. I felt he was really solid and deserved a longer look, but as we all know, the roster was a complete carousel of players post-trade deadline.
His stint with the Marlies, as mentioned above was very solid, and I think it should set him up well for a shot at the big club.
Obviously, there is a huge logjam of forwards in the Maple Leafs’ roster. I’m really excited about Leipsic’s opportunities next season, but barring a significant number of injuries or a superhuman preseason performance, I don’t think Leipsic makes the roster out of training camp.
However, as the season goes on and players are hurt, traded or press-boxed, I believe Leipsic will get a chance to show his stuff and really show what he’s got. With number of young, talented forwards on the Leafs, he should be able to come up and have solid quality of teammates and make a good impression on the coaching staff.
I firmly believe that Leipsic is one of the Leafs’ top 10 prospects and is largely underrated by Leafs Nation. Many are certainly aware of his talents, but I don’t think too many expect him to have a significant impact in the NHL. I hope this piece helps to create some excitement around Leipsic, as I’m very excited to see his skillset in the NHL next season.
The Rankings So Far
- TLN Top 20 Prospects 2016: #13 Zach Hyman
- TLN Top 20 Prospects 2016: #14 Carl Grundstrom
- TLN Top 20 Prospects 2016: #15 Andrew Nielsen
- TLN Top 20 Prospects 2016: #16 Tobias Lindberg
- TLN Top 20 Prospects 2016: #17 Yegor Korshkov
- TLN Top 20 Prospects 2016: #18 Adam Brooks
- TLN Top 20 Prospects 2016: #19 Kasimir Kaskisuo
- TLN Top 20 Prospects 2016: #20 Garret Sparks
- TLN Top 20 Prospects 2016: 10 players who received no votes from us
- TLN Top 20 Prospects 2016: Honourable Mentions