Jerry D'Amigo: The Toronto Maple Leafs' Next Top-Six Forward

Cale LoneyCorrespondent IAugust 10, 2010

MONTREAL,QC - JUNE 27: Jerry D'Amigo poses for a portrait after being drafted by the Toronto Maple Leafs during the second day of the 2009 NHL Entry Draft at the Bell Centre on June 27, 2009 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Monday was a tumultuous day for Toronto Maple Leafs' Brian Burke.

The general manager found out that the Ilya Kovalchuk contract was going to be voided, creating a potential problem for any deals involving Tomas Kaberle.

On the other hand, hot prospect Jerry D'Amigo chose to turn pro.

Jerry D'Amigo was selected as the 158th overall pick in the sixth round of the 2009 NHL Entry Draft. Picked as a potential diamond in the rough, D'Amigo has proven to be worth much more than a sixth-round pick.

After tying Taylor Hall in points at the World Junior Championship, D'Amigo finished his breakout campaign by putting up 10 goals and 25 assists in 35 games for the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, leading his team in points.

"If I do sign, it's to play for the Toronto Maple Leafs," said D'Amigo.

After playing on par with first overall pick Hall, D'Amigo feels that he can play at the NHL level much sooner than originally anticipated.

D'Amigo's scouting report classifies him as a scoring winger with tremendous hands, good goal scoring ability, and speed. But it also notes that he needs to add more strength to play at the NHL level.

At 6'0" and 210 lbs, D'Amigo now has the strength and size to be a stabilizing force in the pro ranks.

The question is: Where will he play?

His CHL rights belong to the OHL's Kitchener Rangers, yet it is doubtful that D'Amigo or the Leafs believe this would be a step forward in development. Combine that with the fact that D'Amigo said he is signing with the Leafs and the possibility becomes even more remote.

D'Amigo was drafted in the same year the Leafs penciled in second-line center Nazem Kadri. D'Amigo proved this past season that he is at the same level of development as Kadri, but is bigger and has played against players older and stronger than himself.

With his deal up in the air, it is a very real possibility that Kaberle could remain a Leaf on August 15th. With this in mind, the Leafs need to look no further than within their organization for the winger to play alongside Kadri this season in a top-six role.

That winger is Jerry D'Amigo.