Toronto Maple Leafs: 5 Prospects Who Can Become Difference-Makers

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Toronto Maple Leafs: 5 Prospects Who Can Become Difference-Makers
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

It is tough to remember the last time the Toronto Maple Leafs possessed anything resembling a player who could make a difference at the NHL level in their prospect pipeline.

After years of eschewing the draft in favor of pursuing veteran talent, the Leafs have finally changed gears and started to rebuild their prospect system under much-maligned general manager Brian Burke.

Traditionally, the title of "difference-maker" is bestowed upon a player who is expected to make a quick, noticeable impact once he graduates to the NHL, in a statistical sense.

However, there are numerous ways in which a player can make a difference in hockey. From blocking a shot to agitating opponents, there are various ways in which a player can influence the outcome of a game beyond the score sheet.

Currently, the Leafs don't possess a difference-maker in the vein of a player who the franchise can build around (think John Tavares or Ryan Nugent-Hopkins), but they do have multiple prospects who will be able to make a difference at the NHL level in one way or another.

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