TLN Top 20 Leafs: Where do the kids fit in?

Photo credit:Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports
Jon Steitzer
1 year ago
We are now halfway through ranking the Top 20 Leafs. Yesterday we reached @Alexander Kerfoot and he seems like an appropriate divide for the exercise, and I think slots 4-10 are some of our most debate-worthy rankings of the list, so stay tuned for that.
One of the things that I purposely asked the rankers to do was leave out anyone who we considered in the prospect rankings that we did in the previous month. This is largely because I didn’t think the world needed two articles looking ahead to what Sandin, Robertson, and Liljegren would be doing next season, but also because at least two of those three are still far from locks on the Leafs roster.
Still the question remains, “where would they fit in?” We had you covered on that all along, and now we can tell you where they fall in the top 20 Leafs.
For @Rasmus Sandin, he would have slotted in right in front of @Alexander Kerfoot and occupied the 11th overall spot instead of him.
There’s no doubt that Sandin is considered a lock for the blueline this season and that he is likely to start a bit more sheltered, but be handed more and more responsibility as time goes on. The fact that he’s being paired with TJ Brodie in the early days of camp is a good sign that Toronto doesn’t want to shelter him, at least until the game is on the line.
Nick Robertson also seemed to place fairly high and he came in between @Ondrej Kase and @Michael Bunting in the rankings. Some people are very excited about the kid, but others were only willing to put his 2021-22 upside ahead of the 4th line contingency. Assuming Sandin is also on the list, this would make Robertson the 17th ranked Leaf, even if he does look like a longshot to make the roster out of camp.
Finally we have Timothy Liljegren. Liljegren was 4th on our prospect rankings, but since Amirov is most definitely playing in Russia this year, we moved on to the next prospect on the list, and the one that is arguably even more NHL ready than Nick Robertson.
Our rankers were a bit more conservative when it came to ranking Liljegren and he came in right after @Wayne Simmonds and before @Pierre Engvall. We are not 100% convinced he’s a NHLer, I guess. Anyway, this would make him the 22nd ranked Leaf on our Top 20 list after we do the bumping to accommodate Sandin and Robertson. And that would in fact make @David Kampf our 20th ranked Leaf.
As for Liljegren, it seems the Leafs are serious about giving him his shot this year. Having him skate with @Jake Muzzin in camp is a plus, even if it seems obvious that @Justin Holl isn’t losing that spot anytime soon, but it gives the Leafs an interesting option at least sheltered times of the game, just like they’d have with the Sandin-Brodie pairing. Arguably we’ll see 7D carried and a bit of a rotation of Dermott, Sandin, and Liljegren in and out of the lineup, and potentially we’ll see Holl bounce around, with a lot of Rielly-Brodie and Muzzin-Holl reunification in the more important parts of the game.
Monday marks the start of our Top 10 Leafs and like I said, that’s when it a lot more debatable. Though to recap here are the articles so far…
#11: Alex Kerfoot
#12: Justin Holl
#13: Travis Dermott
#14: Nick Ritchie
#15: Ondrej Kase
#16: Michael Bunting
#17: Ilya Mikheyev
#18: David Kampf
#19: Wayne Simmonds
#20: Pierre Engvall
Honourable Mentions

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