Getting to know the Maple Leafs Prospect Tournament Invites
Photo credit:(Photo by Steven Ellis/Daily Faceoff)
By Jon Steitzer8 days ago
The Maple Leafs prospect tournament roster is a little different than what we saw at their development camp. For one, there were a lot more players at the development camp. There are only 26 players on the Prospect Tournament roster compared to the 42 attendees earlier this summer. Gone are the players that are still active in the NCAA and anyone returning to Europe, admittedly Slava Peksa sticking around in net was a bit of a surprise, and of the 26 players attending there are 4 who are not on either the Maple Leafs or Marlies reserve lists, and two players that were not previously at the development camp (one who is under contract with the Marlies.) Here’s a bit of info on those five players. (You can find the summary of the full prospect tournament roster here.)
Mazden Leslie is the new invite who comes in without a contract with either the Leafs or the Marlies. The 6’1 right shot defender went undrafted in June and it seems the Leafs are interested in taking a look at the Vancouver Giant. He put up 50 points in 66 games last season, his second full season in the WHL.
A non-stop activator and occasional manufacturer of offence, Leslie clearly has point-producing potential. When the puck arrives on his stick, he hammers it past goaltenders, manipulates opponents to create shooting lanes, chains pass receptions with dekes and shots, and occasionally shows high-level playmaking ability. At the other end of the rink, Leslie’s all-out pressure. He throws crushing hits and erases shots with sprinting closeouts.
The crushing hits aspect probably generates a bit of interest here and while that coupled with his offensive production sounds intriguing, this is really about the Leafs getting an extended look at Leslie before the next draft.
Mastrosimone is a former second round pick of the Detroit Red Wings that, over his four years in the NCAA both at Boston University and Arizona State, Detroit felt they weren’t particularly interested in signing. The Leafs brought Mastrosimone into the Marlies fold this summer and this will be the first look at him with alongside the Leafs prospects. At 5’10 he doesn’t have the coveted size and that is quite possibly why the Wings walked away. He was over a point-per-game last season in Arizona State and was trending up at Boston University before he switched schools as well.
Most importantly here is that Mastrosimone is a former Chicago Steel player during the era that Ryan Hardy was their General Manager. The Marlies GM likely still has a lot of faith in his former player and wants to work with him to see what he can do as a pro.
Tyson Greenway- F
Things didn’t really work out with JD Greenway and the Leafs organization but that isn’t a reason to not give his cousin a look. The 20 year old winger from the Tri-City Americans was at the Leafs development camp and is returning for a second look at the prospect tournament.
Greenway is a physical presence and that is always something you can use in tournaments like this. We’ve already seen Roni Hirvonen draw friendly fire in Development Camp, there might be some hope that someone like Greenway can deter unfriendly fire at a tournament where players like Greenway try to make a name for themselves by going big on top prospects.
Tyson has the potential to be a worthwhile power forward type project for the Leafs organization as he put up decent numbers in his final WHL season with 27 goals in 68 games. Those numbers are better than what the Leafs started with for Mason Marchment and while that is a development path no one should bank on, there is value in having a player like Greenway on the Growlers or Marlies.
Spencer Sova- D
Spencer Sova rounds out the list of the notable invites. Like Greenway, he was at the development camp and as of now is without a contract. Sova is a 19-year-old left shot puck moving defenceman. He’s solid defensively and is more of a transition player than an offensive player when it comes to moving the puck up ice. At the junior level he’s shown the ability to hit but this tournament is likely his best opportunity to show he is worth trying to develop as a pro.
Sova seems to be a bit of a late bloomer and that can be a positive for the Leafs if it seems that he still has even more room to grow. He’s represented Canada that U-18s immediately following his rookie season in the OHL in 2021-22 so there is some promise there.
The Leafs will take a look at him now and see what he does with the Erie Otters this season before making a decision on him after the OHL season in all likelihood. Given Toronto’s limited number of draft picks in recent years and the foreseeable future, getting to know players like Sova will be important.
You can’t teach size. A 6’4 centre who is only 20 years old and has room to improve is worth another look, right? Frasca was at the Leafs development camp and the Barrie Colt is returning to show what he can do in this tournament setting.
Frasca has lost a lot of his prime junior career to concussions. Last season was his first real campaign since his rookie year in 2019-20 and he hit the point per game mark, with 27 goals in 2022-23 to justify his attendance at the Leafs development camp and prospect tournament.
The rest of the guys not on the Leafs reserve list
The Leafs also have a number of Marlies/Growlers players in attendance. Some of them were with the Marlies last season (Luke Cavallin, Tommy Miller) and others are newly under contract (Nolan Dillingham, Jonny Tychonick, Tyler Weiss).
The long story short for all of the players listed above is that they are longshots. Not just longshots to make the NHL but longshots to earn a contract. As players like Mason Marchment, Justin Holl, and others have proven, sometimes the longshots pay off and it will be interesting to see if any of these players stand out this week.
Recent articles from Jon Steitzer