Toronto Maple Leafs: Checking in with Each of the Leafs' 2012 Draftees
We're approaching the middle the of November, and while there may not be NHL hockey to satisfy the hunger of most fans, AHL hockey is well underway, and the junior leagues are well into their seasons as well.
This includes a handful of the Toronto Maple Leafs' most recent group of draftees.
All of them are currently playing hockey, whether it be in Europe or in junior leagues in North America.
Here's an update on how each of them is faring with their respective clubs up to this point.
The hype surrounding Morgan Rielly in Toronto has been absolutely insane.
The optimism for Rielly hasn't been matched by a Leafs prospect in a while. The thought of him and Jake Gardiner on the blue line for the foreseeable future has Leafs fans everywhere salivating.
So far in 2012-13, he hasn't disappointed.
Early on, Rielly has been playing like a man among boys (see his goal against Lethbridge on October 25).
The 18-year-old defenseman has already tallied 20 points in 19 games and has a plus-one player rating for the Moose Jaw Warriors.
While Rielly will still need to show he can make the jump to the professional level and succeed in the next few years, things are looking good at the moment for the fifth overall pick of the draft.
At 35th overall, many consider Matt Finn to have been a steal for the Leafs.
Expected to go in the top 25, Finn was snatched up by Brian Burke and his draft team in the second round.
Finn, who is actually from Toronto, has been putting together a nice season for the 11-6-1 Guelph Storm of the OHL.
Through his first 18 games, Finn has tallied 15 points and, like Morgan Rielly, has a plus-one player rating.
Considering that Finn is billed more as a defensive defenseman, his offensive output has been a fairly nice surprise.
His player rating may not be the most impressive number, but the fact that Guelph has played multiple games against teams like the Owen Sound attack (who are currently 12-2-3) and the London Knights, who sit just ahead of them in the Midwest Division, there isn't a reason to worry just yet.
Toronto's third selection of the draft didn't come until the fifth round, where they selected Duluth, Minnesota native Dominic Toninato.
Currently playing his first full season in the USHL for the Fargo Force, Toninato has made his presence felt.
In 12 games thus far, the 6'1" forward has 14 points and a player rating of plus-seven.
While he's still fairly small at 170 pounds, Toninato will have time to bulk up before making the jump to the professional ranks.
Last season, Toninato finished with 73 points in 31 games in his final year of high school and could develop into a second or third-line depth forward for Toronto. While it's tough to gauge a player who plays in the USHL, Toninato's start seems somewhat promising.
Connor Brown's 2012-13 season has been much better than his last.
In 2011-12, Brown managed to post 53 points for Erie despite the fact that Erie was absolutely horrendous. His minus-72 player rating was more indicative of the team than his play, but he still wasn't exactly a great defender.
This season, Erie's struggles have continued, but Brown has been much better.
His player rating this season is only minus-four, and he's already scored 14 goals in 18 games, though playing with super prospect Connor McDavid may have something to do with that.
While Brown's numbers this season are impressive and may have some fans thinking the Leafs were able to steal him in the sixth round, it would be wise to be cautiously optimistic since his numbers may be slightly inflated thanks to McDavid.
Ryan Rupert was the second of Toronto's two sixth-round picks in this year's entry draft.
Last season, Rupert managed to post 48 points in 63 games playing for the London Knights.
This season, he's only assisted on seven goals and has yet to net a goal himself through 15 games and hasn't shown any signs of progressing from last season.
It's doubtful that Rupert will ever see the NHL in a Leafs uniform and currently ranks ninth among Leafs center prospects.
Viktor Loov was the Maple Leafs' final pick in 2012.
Loov currently plays in Sweden for Sodertalje SK of Sweden's second league and has been with that club his entire career (he played for both their under-18 and under-20 teams as well).
Last season, Loov played in 50 games, tallying six points and 48 penalty minutes.
This year, Loov has played in 16 games, accumulating two points and bringing down his penalty minutes to eight.
The road to the NHL will certainly be a long one for the soon-to-be 20-year-old Swede. He's ranked eighth among Leafs defensive prospects and still has yet to make his way to North America to get a feel for the North American game.