Toronto has some good young talent down on the farm. Find out more about a few of them.
The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. The Toronto Marlies season ended in a strikingly similar fashion as their parent club's. Just one week after the Maple Leafs suffered a heart breaking loss to the Boston Bruins in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Quarter Final, blowing a 4-1 lead late in the third period, the baby buds took a 3-1 lead into the third period of game 6 of the American League’s Western Conference Semi Final against Detroit Red Wings affiliate the Grand Rapids Griffins. Like the Leafs, the Marlies surrendered three goals late in the third period, eventually losing the game.
Amidst the disappointment is a strong sense of hope for the future, though. The surprising success of the 2013 Maple Leafs can be attributed to a group of 2011-2012 Marlies alumni. Marlies call-ups Mike Kostka, Mark Fraser and Nazim Kadri among others, were instrumental in ending the NHL’s longest playoff drought. The strong performance off several Maple Leafs prospects in the AHL playoffs this season gives further hope that like this season, the Marlies will continue to breed talent capable of producing at the NHL level for years to come.
1.) Morgan Rielly – Round 1, 5th Overall, 2012 NHL Entry Draft
The crown jewel of the Maple Leafs defensive prospect pool was a non-factor in the AHL playoffs scoring a single goal, zero assists with a minus-2 rating, in eight games. The goal however, was the 19-year-old defenseman’s first playoff marker at the pro level. Scoring 54 points in the WHL this season with the Moose Jaw Warriors, Rielly promises to be the offensive defenseman the Leafs have needed for years. A great skater and excellent passer, Rielly will need a full season with the Marlies, anchoring their power play and bulking up in order to physically match NHL calibre defensemen before he can make the leap to the NHL level.
2.) Gregg Scott – Undrafted Free Agent
Yet to make his NHL debut, 24-year-old Gregg Scott has averaged 34 points over four American League seasons with the Marlies. Signing with the Leafs as a free agent, Scott is touted by scouts for his speed and excellent hockey sense. The 6-0, 193 pound right wing has shown NHL capability through his consistency and a solid playoff performance this season, scoring nine goals in as many games, tied for first with Mike Zigomanis and Jerry D’Amigo in Marlies playoff scoring before elimination. Scott was impressive with the Western Hockey League’s Seattle Thunderbirds, scoring 75 points in 72 games and leading the league in plus/minus with a rating of plus-40 in the 2008 WHL season. Described as a character forward, Scott has shown significant upside as a depth forward capable of cracking the Leafs roster in the next few years.
3.) Greg McKegg – Round 3, 62nd Overall, 2010 NHL Entry Draft
Making his pro debut this season, 20-year-old center Greg McKegg scored 23 points in 61 games with the Marlies this season. In the Ontario Hockey League, McKegg carved out his niche as a playmaker, tallying 145 assists in 262 OHL games with the Erie Otters and London Knights. Touted by scouts for his passing abilities and versatility, the 6-0, 185 pound McKegg scored a productive six points playing in all nine of the Marlies playoff games this season. The primary concern surrounding McKegg is his size, standing at 6-0 and 185 pounds. Having just made the jump to the pro-level, McKegg will benefit from additional years in the American League to work on his conditioning and bulk up to the NHL level.
4.) Jerry D’Amigo – Round 6, 158th Overall, 2009 NHL Entry Draft
Tied for first amongst Marlies in playoff scoring with nine points in as many games, 22-year-old left wing Jerry D’Amigo is no stranger to playoff hockey, scoring 13 points in 17 games throughout the Marlies 2010-2011 run to the Calder Cup Final. Known for his strong skating and defensive capabilities, D’Amigo has shown his upside through his playoff performance but will need to find consistency next season in order to emerge as the Leafs number one prospect at left wing.
Previously from Schopp:
The 2013 DobberHockey Prospects Report will be released on June 1st. More information on all of the above players (as well as hundreds of other prospects you need to know about) will be in there. And for only $2.50 more, pick up the 2013 DobberHockey Keeper League Pack, which includes the 2013-14 Fantasy Guide and the 2013-14 Draft List.