Maple Leafs release 2016 Rookie Tournament Roster

We know the Toronto Maple Leafs have an abundance of prospects, but that doesn’t mean much until you actually get to see them play hockey in the right sweater. September is usually an opportunity to do just that, as much of the system gets an opportunity to show themselves in an annual rookie tournament hosted in London, Ontario (home of the Lorem Ipsums). 

With that tournament just weeks away, the Leafs have released their roster. It is as follows, via the official site:

PLAYER POS 2015-16 CLUB(S) ACQUIRED
Antoine Bibeau G Toronto (AHL) 172nd overall (2013)
Jeremy Bracco F Kitchener (OHL) / Boston College (Hockey East) 61st overall (2015)
Adam Brooks F Regina (WHL) 92nd overall (2016)
Nikolas Brouillard D Rouyn-Noranda (QMJHL) / Quebec (QMJHL) Signed to AHL contract
Tony Cameranesi F U. of Minnesota Duluth (NCHC) / Toronto (AHL) 130th overall (2011)
Travis Dermott D Erie (OHL) / Toronto (AHL) 34th overall (2015)
Stephen Desrocher D Kingston (OHL) / Oshawa (OHL) 155th overall (2015)
Martins Dzierkals F Rouyn-Noranda (QMJHL) 68th overall (2015)
Tye Felhaber F Saginaw (OHL) Free Agent Invite
Frederik Gauthier F Toronto (AHL) / Toronto (NHL) 21st overall (2013)
Cason Hohmann F Elmira (ECHL) / Rochester (AHL) Signed to AHL contract
Justin Holl D Toronto (AHL) Signed to NHL contract
Andreas Johnson F Frolunda (SHL) / Toronto (AHL) 202nd overall (2013)
Jon Jutzi D Minnesota State (WCHA) / Manitoba (AHL) Signed to AHL contract
Kasimir Kaskisuo G Minnesota-Duluth (NCHC) / Toronto (AHL) Signed to NHL contract
Nikita Korostelev F Sarnia (OHL) 185th overall (2015)
Tobias Lindberg F Toronto (AHL) / Binghamton (AHL) / Toronto (NHL) Trade with OTT – 2/9/16
Mason Marchment F Mississauga (OHL) / Toronto (AHL) Signed to AHL contract
Mitch Marner F London (OHL) 4th overall (2015)
Nicolas Mattinen D London (OHL) 179th overall (2016)
Keaton Middleton D Saginaw (OHL) 101st overall (2016)
Trevor Moore F Denver (NCHC) Signed to NHL contract
Andrew Nielsen D Lethbrige (WHL) / Toronto (AHL) 65th overall (2015)
JJ Piccinich F London (OHL) 103rd overall (2014)
Colin Smith F Toronto (AHL) / San Antonio (AHL) Signed to AHL contract
Ty Stanton D Medicine Hat (WHL) / Toronto (AHL) Signed to AHL contract
Dmytro Timashov F Quebec (QMJHL) / Shawinigan (QMJHL) 125th overall (2015)
Rinat Valiev D Toronto (AHL) / Toronto (NHL) 68th overall (2014)
Jack Walker F Victoria (WHL) 152nd overall (2016)
Chase Witala F Prince George (WHL) / Toronto (AHL) Signed to AHL contract
Tyler Wong F Lethbridge (WHL) / Toronto (AHL) Free Agent Invite

Just a few quick notes here..

  • Auston Matthews isn’t on this list, but that’s not surprising in the slightest. He’ll be preparing for the World Cup of Hockey, where he represents Team North America as they take on real countries. The same goes for Nikita Zaitsev, who is old and experienced enough to not need a tournament like this anyway, but represents Team Russia at the same tournament regardless.
  • William Nylander, on the other hand, represents nobody and as such his absence is a bit more curious. However, with 22 games of quality hockey played for the Leafs last year and an utter domination of the American Hockey League, I doubt that the Leafs need another look for him. They’ve probably got him focused on the main camp.
  • Andreas Johnson is on the list, which is a big deal for those who were worried about his health. Johnson suffered a serious concussion during the Calder Cup Playoffs and details on his recovery have been scarce at best and scary at worst; but if he’s ready to go after months since the last update, that’s a positive sign.
  • Jon Jutzi is on the roster and listed as being signed to an AHL contract, which is interesting. The Marlies never announced a transaction of the sort, and there were no prior reports of this happening. Jutzi is the oldest player on the list (25) but has just six games of pro experience after spending four years at Minnesota State. Jutzi is a left-handed defenceman who stands at 6’2 and hails from Tavistock, Ontario.
  • Toronto’s invites are familiar names Tyler Wong joined the Marlies on a tryout last season and Tye Felhaber was part of the Development Camp group this summer. He, Wong, Jutzi, and Trevor Moore are the only four of the nine invites who entered that camp without contracts to make it to this tournament. 

The rookie tournament will be played at Budweiser Gardens, and will see the Leafs play on three consecutive nights (vs. Ottawa on September 16th, vs. Montreal on the 17th, and vs. Pittsburgh on the 18th).

    • Nylander’s rate production dipped a bit because of the first few games after coming back from his concussion and appendicitis. On top of that, Grant was 26, Arcobello was 27, Sheary was 24, and Vatrano & Griffith play on each other’s line.

      Not that Nylander had bad linemates or anything, Leivo and rotating side person certainly helped. But the fact that a 19-year-old was the driver and still was near the top of the league in points per game after spending about a third of his season playing in injury recovery mode is pretty dominant.

      • magesticRAGE

        Agreed,

        the AHL is very much a “mans” league where you have to earn your iron.

        for anyone who does not know the GOT reference, it is a gritty league.

        Nylander’s production is a big accomplishment.

  • Most interesting to me are two 2016 draft choices, Adam Brooks, the amazing overage late bloomer from Regina Pats (WHL scoring leader with 120 pts), and Keaton Middleton, the giant D man 4th round wtf pick from Saginaw Spirit. He scored all of 7 points in 66 games (1 goal)and left many wondering if Hunter had lost his mind. The guy is 6’5″, close to 235 lbs, and a gentle giant averaging only 1 penalty minute per game last season. What’s his great appeal? Dunno, but we’ll find out at rookie camp.

    • Gary Empey

      Re – Keaton Middleton he grew another inch since being drafted. Now 6’6″

      I am not sure how gentle a giant he is:

      Middleton said. “I’m going to hit guys. I’m going to fight guys, that’s what I do. They expect me to play like that.”

      If you are looking for comparables, his skating reminds me of Lurch from the old Addams Family TV show.

      Middleton and skating instructor Barb Underhill are working hard to turn him into the next Eric Karlsson….

  • At this summer’s Development Camp, the Leaf brass was very intrigued and impressed with a new line that was put together with Marner skating with Adam Brooks and Trevor Moore. All three will be at the rookie camp in London. I would love to see if they can be put together again to see if they can create any more magic in Marner’s home turf.

    • Gary Empey

      Re- Adam Brooks… Plays center…

      Hard to fathom when the Leafs drafted this year’s WHL scoring leader in the fourth round, it left our writer’s here scratching their heads.