The premier offensive talents of the Maple Leafs prospect team showed their stuff against the Chicago rookies on Saturday night. Scoring four goals in the first period alone; the second, third and fourth round picks of Leafs this year all netted one.
Bradley Ross showed some impressive patience and some strong skating skills to weave his way into a good scoring position and wristing one into the top right corner. Ross, who the Leafs traded up to get in the second round this year, showed that he can play more than the role of just the pest.
Sondre Olden, the Leafs third round pick, showed why he was able to score 27 points in 32 games with Modo Jr. in Sweden last year. Olden, showing good offensive vision, snuck a wrist shot past the Chicago goaltender from the top of the circle.
Then, later in the first, Gregg McKegg was holding the puck in a two on one situation, and with a deceptive bit of movement slipped by the Chicago defenseman and deked out the goalie to put the puck into the top corner. McKegg was also picked in the third round this year, and was drafted due to his premium offensive talents, as he was 11th in OHL scoring this past year.
Lacking in overall strength and speed though, McKegg has to work on the other parts of his game to make the best use of his scoring talent.
None of these prospects will be with the Leafs this year, as they all need more seasoning before they reach the pro level, but it does make the scouts smile that they might have made some good choices with their picks.
Jerry D'Amigo also scored in the first by tipping a beautiful shot from the point, showing great hand-eye coordination to deflect it out of the air.
Nazem Kadri wasn't quite dominant as many Leafs fans might hope, but he did play a solid all around game, both laying out hits and making some good plays in the Chicago zone.
With Chicago coming within one in the second, the Leafs went on to increase the 4-3 lead with a nice little flick goal by Kenny Ryan and a snap shot from the point by Simon Gysbers.
While not a dominant game by any standards, it was interesting to see what some of the Leafs' draft picks were capable of. Most of these players will not be seen with the Maple Leafs for a couple of years, but some, like Nazem Kadri will attempt to make a difference with the big club this season.