Toronto Maple Leafs: Five Young Guns Who Could Earn A Spot After Training Camp
The Toronto Maple Leafs' training camp began Friday, and many of the Leafs' young prospects were featured on the roster.
Here is the Leafs current training camp roster:
Colby Armstrong, Darryl Boyce, Tyler Bozak, Tim Brent, Mike Brown, Luca Caputi, Sam Carrick, Joey Crabb, Andrew Crescenzi, Jerry D'Amigo, Jamie Devane, Alex Foster, Mikhail Grabovski, Richard Greenop, Ryan Hamilton, Christian Hanson, Justin Hodgman, Brayden Irwin, Nazem Kadri, Phil Kessel, Nikolai Kulemin, Mike Liambas, Clarke MacArthur, Greg McKegg, Dale Mitchell, John Mitchell, Marcel Mueller, Josh Nicholls, Colton Orr, Wayne Primeau, Jay Rosehill, Brad Ross, Kenny Ryan, Greg Scott, Fredrik Sjostrom, Robert Stanley, Mikhail Stefanovich, Kris Versteeg, Mike Zigomanis
Keith Aulie, Jesse Blacker, Francois Beauchemin, Mike Brennan, Josh Engel, Jeff Finger, Carl Gunnarsson, Simon Gysbers, Korbinian Holzer, Tomas Kaberle, Mike Komisarek, Matt Lashoff, Brett Lebda, Juraj Mikus, Drew Paris, Dion Phaneuf, Danny Richmond, Luke Schenn, Barron Smith
Andrew Engelage, Jean-Sebastien Giguere, Jonas Gustavsson, James Reimer, Jussi Rynnas, Ben Scrivens
(Courtesy of Ken Beckett, Hockeybuzz.com)
The following five young players are the prospects with the best chance of sticking with the Leafs even if it is only for the first few games of the regular season.
No. 5 Kenny Ryan
Coming off his first year with Memorial Cup Champs, the Windsor Spitfires, Kenny Ryan's progression has been exactly what the Leafs could have hoped for. Ryan scored 14 goals for 35 points in 52 games with the Spitfires.
Projected as a smart two-way winger with some upsides Ryan's play for Windsor and the Leafs' Rookie Tournament has shown how puck-savvy the young winger truly is.
After dominating for periods of time on the penalty kill during the Leafs' Rookie Tournament, Ryan looks to showing his skills at a higher level. Look for Ryan to receive plenty of playing time in preseason play. If Ryan brings the same strong two-way play to the preseason, Ryan could earn himself a longer tryout with the Leafs.
The first 10 games of the season perhaps?
No. 4 Brayden Irwin
Brayden Irwin is another one of the Burke college signings. Heralded as a big forward with top-six potential, Irwin has to prove he can live up to his potential.
After a brief two-game stint with the Leafs last year due to his Finals, Irwin registered no points and two penalty minutes. While his game wasn't the stuff of legends, adjusting to NHL hockey in two games isn't the ideal situation either.
Irwin owns a big league shot, as shown by his goal in the rookie tournament. If Irwin can prove his skating ability is up to NHL standards, he may be able to earn himself a chance and sticking with the big club come October.
No. 3 Marcel Mueller
After signing a two-year deal this summer with the Leafs, Marcel Mueller is looking to prove to Leafs brass that he is ready for NHL action right away.
Coming off a season where Mueller scored 24 goals for 56 points in 53 games for the Cologne Sharks of the German League, Mueller wants to prove he is the power forward the Leafs have been looking for.
It's not often that a team has a rookie who at 22 years-old has played five seasons of pro hockey. Add in an Olympic Games and Mueller isn't your typical rookie. That is all looking beyond the fact that Mueller is 6"2, 220 lbs.
The big agile forward could be exactly what the Leafs need to allow their smaller skilled players such as Kris Versteeg and Phil Kessel, the chance to flourish.
No.2 Jerry D'Amigo
Coming off a stellar season with 10 goals and 25 assists in 36 games for the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, D'Amigo decided it was time to turn pro.
In D'Amigo's first taste of pro hockey in the Toronto Maple Leafs' Rookie Tournament, D'Amigo scored two goals, one of which came short-handed. With great size and speed, D'Amigo could help add some talent and grit to the Leafs wing position.
Depending on how D'Amigo's training camp goes, D'Amigo may have improved enough in a year to go straight to the NHL. However if Kadri is sent to the AHL, D'Amigo will definitely join him for some minor league seasoning.
No.1 Nazem Kadri
Nazem Kadri represents the future of the Toronto Maple Leafs organization. At the tender age of 19 years old, Kadri is penciled in by Coach Ron Wilson as the Leafs second line centre. After Kadri's first preseason game where he showed flashes of brilliance and sufficient amounts of Burke-like pugnacity, Kadri suffered a minor hip-flexor injury.
Kadri missed the second game and came back for the third and final game and registered an assist. While Kadri played well both games, he didn't dominate the way that many expected he would. However as Brian Burke told The Toronto Star, he isn't against sending Kadri and others to the Marlies.
“You should look at my track record as far as Kadri and D’Amigo and Mueller as far as guys playing (in the NHL) right away,” said Burke, who then listed the likes of Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry and Bobby Ryan, who all spent time with the Ducks AHL team before starring in the NHL. “I like guys to spend time in the American Hockey League. I think it’s invaluable.
Kadri still has a good chance of making the Leafs, and Leafs Nation fully expect him to be in the lineup come the beginning of the season.
The hope is that he will be ready for it.