Leafs Prospect report
A combined analysis from the team report, and Hockeysfutures report, both done about a month ago.
Hockeysfutures fall 2007 organizational Prospect rankings has them at 19th. And most people I’ve talked too say the leafs have one of the riskiest prospect pools in the NHL. On the one hand, there are lots of guys with the potential to be top end players, but on the other hand these same players could just as easily crash at the NHL level. Some are small, some are thin, some are slow. Yet all find success in the leagues they play in, and have the tools to find success at the NHL level.
Another thing that I have noticed is the way the Leafs handle the draft. They almost always select blue chip prospects in the first few rounds (and are very predictable), but from the 4tn round on they go off the charts. Some scouts even said they hadn’t heard of some of the guys the Leafs pick in the late rounds of the 2006 draft.
Here are some notable surprises and disapointments thus far.
Jeremy Williams- Two years ago everyone thought he’d make the NHL one day because he was fast, and he could score. but he gets worse every year, and seems to have more and more injuries pile up. Now it seems the Leafs will be lucky if he ever becomes an NHL regular.
Brent Aubin- Everyone said he was too small too play in the NHL. And so far they look about right. He’s having a rough time at both ends of the ice in the AHL.
Dale Mitchel- After scoring 40 goals last season in the OHL he now has a mere 3 in 26 games. Once considered a blue chip prospect who will almost surely be a 3rd liner in the NHL, Mitchell now has scouts doubting his passion, size and abilities.
Jiri Tlusty- Once thought of as a blue chip 2nd line center who can’t play in his own end, Tlustly is looking more and more like a talented physical winger who could be a top notch goal scorer one day. He’s succeeded in every level he’s played in. The NHL is the next step.
Chris DiDomenico- Drafted 164th overall 6 months ago, this 18 year old is now 4th in the QMJHL in points. Once considered a lightweight at 165lbs, he has really bulked up and turned into a fair hitter as well. This all for a guy only drafted because of his talent at killing penalties.
Dimitry Vorobiev- 7 goals in 28 games…That doesn’t sound like much. But consider he’s a defenseman playing in the RSL. It ranks him 1st in goals among defensemen and 8th among all players in the RSL. I personally had considered him an RSL lifer who would never adjust to the pro game. Now it looks like he could be a very good offensice defensemen in the NHL. And playing in the RSL for 5 years gives a player a pretty good idea of how to take care of things in his own end.