Yesterday we kicked off the series by mentioning who wasn’t in the mix for being the top Leafs outside the NHL, so with Sandin, Engvall, Rosen, and Barabanov not factoring into the conversation, these three players still failed to make the top 20.
Two of these players certainly classify as longer term projects, while one has had a pretty limited look with the organization, but shows a little promise.
The recently signed Kral has been hiding away in the far reaches of the Western Hockey League for the past couple of years, but he has quietly been doing a decent jump as an offensive defenseman, who has begun to round out his game.
Kral, 20, is a left handed defensemen from the Czech Repubic, has played the past three seasons with the Spokane Chiefs. Drafted in the 5th round in 2018, the 6’1 defender has been relatively consistent in his performance, and not taking any significant leaps. He possesses the foot speed, and the intelligence to be a contributor at the AHL level, but it’s questionable if he has any standout abilities that put him on track for the NHL.
The Leafs have historically done well with European defensemen, and while Kral might spend the next season in the ECHL, I wouldn’t doubt that he could establish himself as a reliable callup option for the Leafs someday.
|2017-18||Czech Republic U20 (all)||16||1||0||1||4|
|2018-19||Czech Republic U20 (all)||6||1||1||2||2|
Ian Scott followed up a dream 2018-19 with a nightmare 2019-20. Quite simply, he didn’t play due to ongoing hip issues that required surgery and will likely see him ready to return to the ice in training camp.
|2015-16||Prince Albert Raiders||26||3.24||0.892|
|2016-17||Prince Albert Raiders||50||3.69||0.895|
|Prince Albert Raiders||50||3.1||0.897|
|Prince Albert Raiders||49||1.83||0.932|
The reality is that Scott might have just had one legendary season, and it might have come undone by his extended absence from hockey. Scott will likely get another shot that the workload on the Growlers when hockey resumes, but question marks exist rather than the preseason excitement from last year when he was considered to have the potential to challenge Woll for the title of best goaltending prospect in the organization.
Kossila has played 12 games for the organization, and wasn’t really brought in with much fanfare. He was considered an outside possibility to challenge for a fourth line role with the Leafs last training camp, but like Ian Scott, had his opportunity derailed by injury.
When Kossila re-emerged he put up six points in 12 games for the Marlies, and appeared to be capable of becoming the top offensive center option for the AHL team. Without knowing what kind of post season shakeup awaits the Leafs this summer, Kossila could once again find himself in that bubble of consideration, or at the very least he could be in consideration as a callup.
At 27, Kossila isn’t part of the long term plans for the Leafs, but he could be a helpful stop gap. With a number of players requiring waivers next season, Kossila is one who should be able to clear and help with organizational depth.
Also, today is Kalle’s birthday, so Happy Birthday!
We’ll be back tomorrow with the first entries in the top 20.