Toronto Maple Leafs: A Look at their Top 10 Prospects

Jeff LangridgeCorrespondent IIIAugust 23, 2011

Toronto Maple Leafs: A Look at their Top 10 Prospects

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    For the first time since who knows when, the Toronto Maple Leafs have a good prospects list. Brian Burke has restocked the Leafs system that former GM John Ferguson had left barren.

    The Leafs have a good group of forwards making their way through junior and the AHL. The defense isn’t too shabby either and we all know of Burke’s recent penchant for signing European goalies.

    All in all, the Leafs should be set for the next few seasons while they continue to gain new prospects through the draft and trades.

    Here are the Toronto Maple Leafs' top 10 prospects, not including Nazem Kadri who I no longer view as a prospect.

10. Ben Scrivens

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    Age: 25 Position: Goalie

    Acquired: Signed in May 2010

    2010-11 Team: Toronto (AHL)

    2010-11 Stats: 33 games played, 13 wins, 2.33 GAA, .924 SV%

    Height: 6’2” Weight: 192 lbs

    NHL Ready: 2013-14

    Ben Scrivens came into the Leafs system rather quietly when he signed with them about a year ago. Originally playing with the Reading Royals of the ECHL, he made his way to the AHL's Toronto Marlies after James Reimer was called up to the Leafs.

    With all of the good goaltending prospects Brian Burke has brought into the Leafs system, it will be hard to stand out from the crowd. Splitting time with Jussi Rynnas, Reimer, and at times Jonas Gustavsson, Scrivens’ stats weren’t as strong they could have been—though he did have better stats than Rynnas.

    If Mark Owuya makes the jump overseas and joins the Marlies, it could be a real crowded crease at Ricoh Coliseum.

9. Jerry D'Amigo

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    Age: 20 Position: Left Wing

    Acquired: Drafted 158th overall in 2009

    2010-11 Team: Toronto (AHL)

    2010-11 Stats: 43 games played, 5 goals, 10 assists, 15 points, 23 penalty minutes

    Height: 5’11” Weight: 208 lbs

    NHL Ready: 2012-13

    After a great year playing at RPI, many fans thought D'Amigo would be able to jump into the Leafs lineup as soon as last season. Boy, were we wrong. After a disappointing stint playing for the Marlies, he was sent down to the Kitchener Rangers of the OHL. After the OHL season was over, he returned to the Marlies.

    While he may no longer be viewed as a top-six forward, if he can play on the third or fourth line and still provide some offense, he will prove his worth. Maybe he won’t be such the sixth-round steal he was viewed as before last season, but he's still worth it.

8. Jesse Blacker

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    Age: 20 Position: Defense

    Acquired: Drafted 58th overall in 2009

    2010-11 Team: Owen Sound (OHL)

    2010-11 Stats: 62 games played, 10 goals, 44 assists, 54 points, 83 penalty minutes

    Height: 6’1” Weight: 190 lbs

    NHL Ready: 2012-13

    Playing for the Owen Sound Attack, Jesse Blacker helped lead them to an OHL Championship win. Even though the Attack fell short of winning the Memorial Cup, Blacker gained some valuable championship experience, something which will come in handy when he makes it to the Leafs.

    Along with Jake Gardiner, Blacker is another puck-moving defenseman who will eventually make the Leafs blue line an offensive group. While Gardiner might get the first available spot, Blacker, should another spot be available, will have no problem taking it.

7. Stuart Percy

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    Age: 18 Position: Defense

    Acquired: Drafted 25th overall in 2011

    2010-11 Team: Missassauga-St. Michaels (OHL)

    2010-11 Stats: 64 games played, 4 goals, 29 assists, 33 points, 50 penalty minutes

    Height: 6’1” Weight: 187 lbs

    NHL Ready: 2013-14

    For a player who wears No. 5 in honour of Nicklas Lidstrom, Leafs fans hope Percy can be just half as good as the future first ballot Hall of Famer. He was a member of the St. Michael’s Majors team that made it all the way to the Memorial Cup final.

    He is going to need a season or two more of development before he is ready to make the big club. Once he does, he will join an already young defense core which will only get better with age.

6. Greg McKegg

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    Age: 19 Position: Center

    Acquired: Drafted 62nd overall in 2010

    2010-11 Team: Erie (OHL)

    2010-11 Stats: 66 games played, 49 goals, 43 assists, 92 points, 35 penalty minutes

    Height: 6’0” Weight: 191 lbs

    NHL Ready: 2012-13

    My personal favourite Leafs prospect, Greg McKegg has had two monstrous offensive seasons in a row playing for the Erie Otters of the OHL. He was named OHL player of the week twice last season and he will most likely graduate to the Marlies this season.

    If he can keep up his offensive production, there is no reason to believe that McKegg won’t be given every shot to crack the Leafs lineup for the 2012-13 season.

    He could be a very good second-line center down the road for the Leafs. I sure hope he will.

5. Matt Frattin

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    Age: 23 Position: Right Wing

    Acquired: Drafted 99th overall in 2007

    2010-11 Team: North Dakota (USHL)

    2010-11 Stats: 44 games played, 36 goals, 24 assists, 60 points, 42 penalty minutes

    Height: 5’11” Weight: 187 lbs

    NHL Ready: 2012-13

    The most talked about prospect of Leafs Nation. Will he make the team out of training camp? Will he be returned to the Marlies? Will he get called up if an injury occurs? All of these questions have been asked by Leafs fans after his one-game audition in the last contest of the 2010-11 season.

    While I believe he could stick with the team straight from training camp and make an impact for the Leafs, he will most likely be sent down as one of the last cuts.

    Whenever he does make the Leafs, he will most likely be a third-line player who can add some scoring as well.

4. Brad Ross

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    Age: 19 Position: Left Wing

    Acquired: Drafted 43rd overall in 2010

    2010-11 Team: Portland (WHL)

    2010-11 Stats: 67 games played, 31 goals, 38 assists, 69 points, 171 penalty minutes

    Height: 6’0” Weight: 175 lbs

    NHL Ready: 2012-13

    Brad Ross could be a steal of the second round from last year’s draft. In two consecutive seasons, Ross has had high point totals while racking up lots of penalty minutes. He will eventually be one of Toronto's fan favorites because of his style of play.

    Even if his offensive production drops, which is likely, he will definitely be a good player for the Leafs.

    Playing for the Portland Winterhawks, a team loaded with talent that has been snatched up in the past two drafts—namely Nino Niederreiter and Ryan Johansen who were taken fourth and fifth overall in 2010—Ross hasn’t looked out of place. It may have helped his stats playing with those two, but you don’t get a point-per-game average without having a little talent.

3. Tyler Biggs

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    Age: 18 Position: Right Wing

    Acquired: Drafted 22nd overall in 2011

    2010-11 Team: Team USA (USHL)

    2010-11 Stats: 20 games played, 7 goals, 4 assists, 11 points, 41 penalty minutes

    Height: 6’2” Weight: 205 lbs

    NHL Ready: 2013-14

    The Leafs traded up to draft future power forward Tyler Biggs, which says Burke didn’t think he would be around come time for the Leafs' first pick (25th). While it will be a few years before we see Biggs in a Maple Leafs uniform, when he makes it, he will give the Leafs a tough top six forward that the Leafs don’t have currently.

    If he can be a clutch performer like he was with Team USA at the World Under-18 Championships, it will just be icing on the cake.

2. Jake Gardiner

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    Age: 21 Position: Defense

    Acquired: Trade with Anaheim

    2010-11 Team: Wisconsin (WCHA)

    2010-11 Stats: 41 games played, 10 goals, 31 assists, 41 points, 24 penalty minutes

    Height: 6’2” Weight: 188 lbs

    NHL Ready: 2012-13

    Jake Gardiner is a young prospect who Burke himself drafted when he was the general manager of the Ducks. When Burke traded Francois Beauchemin back to Anaheim, he got his player back as well.

    Spending the majority of the season in college, Gardiner had a late season audition with the Marlies and didn’t look out of place. With one more year of development, Gardiner should be ready to jump into the Leafs defense.

1. Joe Colborne

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    Age: 20 Position: Center

    Acquired: Trade with Boston

    2010-11 Team: Providence/Toronto (AHL)

    2010-11 Stats: 75 games played, 20 goals, 22 assists, 42 points, 43 penalty minutes

    Height: 6’5” Weight: 216 lbs

    NHL Ready: 2011-12

    Colborne is by far the Maple Leafs’ top prospect. After all of the hoopla about Tomas Kaberle being traded for years, it was really nice that the Leafs could bring in a great prospect like Colborne.

    While I believe he is ready for the NHL this season, I believe he will spend most of the season with the Marlies. He will, however, be the first call-up if someone gets hurt. Also, if a player like Mikhail Grabovski gets dealt at the deadine or earlier, Colborne will take his spot.