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Photo Credit: © Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

A pair of Leafs make Craig Button’s top prospect list

Sweet, sweet validation. It’s what everyone craves. How else would we know that Rasmus Sandin and Nick Robertson are good unless someone puts numbers next to their name?

In what I’m sure will be a flood of World Juniors related takes, Craig Button has released his list of top NHL affiliated prospects today, and shockingly everyone who had a good World Junior tournament is ranked at the top.

Drop the smugness and tell me where he ranked them

Button placed Rasmus Sandin as the 6th best NHL affiliated prospect and Nick Robertson at 17. Sandin, who was ranked last year as well, jumped 20 spots from 26th on the list, and Button made the following comments on him…

The 19-year-old opened the season by playing in six games for the Leafs before being sent back to the AHL Marlies. He was also a huge part of Sweden’s run to a bronze medal at the World Juniors, serving as an alternate captian and scoring 10 points (three goals, seven assists) in seven games.

Sandin makes plays in every single area of the game and in all situations. He mixes an exceptional hockey IQ with a lightning-quick processor.

In case you were wondering, here’s the list of players ahead of Sandin…

Rank Name Pos Team
1 Shesterkin G NYR
2 Denisenko RW PHI
3 Bowen D COL
4 Kaprizov W MIN
5 Romanov D MTL

Before we begin the crusade against TSN for daring to put Romanov and Bowen ahead of Sandin, and for that matter anyone else, let’s reflect on how one man’s opinion, even if it is somewhat informed through experience and having the time to commit to watching a lot of hockey is just one opinion, and maybe, just maybe, Sandin might end up being the best of the lot.

How great is Nick Robertson?

Nick Robertson is having an absolute year, and I couldn’t be happier. I think it’s time we start saying things like could he be a Leaf next year and mean it when we say it. World Juniors aside, it’s pretty nice having a player who is on a goal per game pace in the OHL, and is feisty, and could be a very affordable addition to the third line next year.

Am I ahead of myself? Absolutely, but dang it, cheap skill is the dream and Robertson has it.

For now we sit and wait for further validation of the Leafs prospects from The Athletic, Sportsnet, and The Hockey News.  I’m sure one of them has the courage to put Sandin in their top three.