TLN Top 20 Leafs Prospects Midterm Rankings: #15-#11

(Photo: @GSparks40)

#15 – Garret Sparks – G (Toronto, AHL)

Goaltenders are difficult to judge so I’ll keep this brief, but Sparks is the most advanced Leafs goalie prospect in the system and has excellent social media game, which makes him Top 15 candidate. 
A strong .924 save percentage in 495 minutes with the Orlando Solar Bears makes up for a disappointing .891 save percentage in 295 minutes with the Toronto Marlies, but those are goalies and small samples. Limited playing time recently due to playing behind a strong Drew MacIntyre in Toronto, but goalies take longer anyway. Cam Charron

#14 – Andreas Johnson – LW (Frolunda, SHL)

Of all the Leafs prospects currently enjoying huge offensive seasons, Frolunda’s Andreas Johnson might be the one that excites me most. Despite cooling off considerably in the last month or so, Johnson still has 14 goals and 22 points in 35 games in his rookie SHL season. Those are some lofty numbers, good for third in team scoring, and first in SHL rookie scoring.
Johnson has impressed at the international level as well, scoring three goals, three assists in seven games for Team Sweden at this month’s IIHF World Junior Championships, a tournament in which Johnson was voted one of Sweden’s Best Players selected by tournament coaches. It’s too early to say if Johnson is the next late-round Swedish All-Star, but obviously Johnson is the next late-round Swedish All-Star. Justin Fisher

#13 – Petter Granberg – D (Toronto, AHL)

There was a lot of questioning as to whether Petter Granberg could adjust to the smaller North American ice. So far, he seems to be doing just fine, proving to be one of the go-to defensive defencemen for the Toronto Marlies this year. With original partner John-Michael Liles now in Carolina, Granberg hasn’t had a ton of consistency next to him over the past month or so, but has stayed consistent. He gets an even share of minutes even strength, and is on the second penalty kill unit. Jeffler

#12 – Tyler Biggs – RW (Toronto, AHL)

Here’s the summary of Tyler Biggs’ first half of the season: we were instructed by Justin (who put this little project together) that whoever had Biggs had to go easy on him. Being out in BC, I don’t have access to many Toronto Marlies games so can’t speak to what he’s done on the ice, but with just five points in 33 games, he’s in the middle of his third down offensive season since his draft year. Worse for Biggs is that he hasn’t been among the seemingly-endless revolving door of stopgap wingers that have been called up so far this season like Carter Ashton, Jamie Devane, Jerry D’Amigo, Josh Leivo or David Broll. 
It’s important to separate players from their draft position, or who they were traded for, but it’s difficult to be optimistic about Biggs considering how poor his boxcar numbers have been since being made the 22nd overall selection in 2011. As such, he’s fallen out of our top ten.

#11 – Carter Verhaeghe – C (Niagara, OHL)

Carter Verhaeghe impressed this summer at rookie camp and the 2013 third round pick hasn’t slowed down since. At 6’1” with a frame that will eventually hold a lot more than his current 185 lbs., he has two-way player written all over him. 
There was originally some concern about Verhaeghe’s stride and, as a result, his offensive upside, but he’s really grown with greater opportunity in Niagara, scoring 59 points in 42 games so far. He’s also had eight three-plus point nights and has only gone pointless in back-to-back games three times. He’s still learning, of course, but he’s just 18 and has at least another full season to fill the holes. And his dog is named Mats, so how can you not love the guy already?


    • Mpsenicka

      Broll is bigger. This year in the AHL, Broll has more fights, more than double the points (12 vs 5) and a better plus/minus (+2 vs -2)

      They are the same age. How can anybody rank Biggs higher that Broll.

      A more logical ranking: Broll should be 12 and Biggs in 17, switch places.

  • Leaf Fan in Mexico

    I think that you hit the nail on the head with Tyler Biggs. In all the reports that have been written about the Marlies he has not been mentioned as one of THE guys at all. this one may be for a Marlie career, don’t forget already his 3rd season in pros.

  • Mpsenicka

    Biggs is in his first pro season but I’m sure that there are some that still believe he can be an effective 3rd liner. The Marlies are certainly looking like a more probable end result.

  • Mpsenicka

    Petter Granberg at 13?

    Behind Biggs? Granberg has one less point than Biggs and Grangberg is a defenceman…in his first year in North America.

    I would have put Granberg in the 6-8th slot. As an AHL rookie, adjusting to the smaller ice he still leads his team in plus/minus.

    He’s +15 as a 21 year old rookie defenseman!

    That’s just in 38 games, so that might be +25-30 over a full season.

    If he can do that at 21, he is right on track to be a second pair defensive d-man in the NHL in just a couple years.

    He’s a great prospect. He won’t get lots of points, but I am quite sure his contributions at an NHL level will outshine some of the players in the 12-1 slot.

  • I think we as a group at TLN got the Biggs vote right. He’s not a top ten, high-end prospect in our eyes, but many of us see him as an effective bottom six/special teams player. He drops because his stat line leaves a lot to be desired, but he doesn’t drop further because there are some things he does on the defensive side of the puck we still like (and you can’t teach size).

    As for why he’s ahead of Granberg? Well, personally, I haven’t seen enough from Granberg to say he’ll be a sure-fire Top 4 in the NHL. I still think he’s got NHL upside, but if I think he’s a 4-6 defender, I’m comfortable slotting him beside what I believe to be a future bottom six guy.

  • “As for why he’s ahead of Granberg? Well, personally, I haven’t seen enough from Granberg to say he’ll be a sure-fire Top 4 in the NHL. I still think he’s got NHL upside, but if I think he’s a 4-6 defender, I’m comfortable slotting him beside what I believe to be a future bottom six guy.”

    The difference is that Granberg is developing as he should, even ahead of schedule, while Biggs isn’t. The Leafs managsment is really happy with Granbergs development while Biggs is sliding:

    “Granberg is becoming a man,” said Jim Hughes, the Leafs’ director of player development. “He’s playing with authority.

    “It’s been a tremendous amount of experience he’s gained here in the past three months. He’s engaging (body contact), plays with force and yet he moves the puck, boxes out front and he has good positioning.

    “He’s doing everything we expected, learning in North American buildings and playing upwards of 20 minutes a night. This was the plan, get him 100 or 120 AHL games. With no timetable, let’s just allow him to grow as a person and as a player. He’s doing a wonderful job.”

    • How can you say, after 38 and 37 AHL games respectively, that Granberg is significantly better than Biggs. We’re talking about two guys who project to play similar roles in different positions. Just because some guy who works for the Leafs got all excited over one guy doesn’t mean he thinks the other is a bust.

      • “some guy who works for the Leafs”

        Read his title again:

        “Jim Hughes, the Leafs’ director of player development.”

        He’s not just some guy. This is part of his responsibility. He is giving his unique professional opinion about his own area.

        And there is consesus. Have a look at some of the recent interviews with Marlies coach, Steve Spott. They say the same thing: Biggs strugles, Granberg excels

        Then look at what this guy says:

        “I ranked Granberg ahead of other defenders (and forwards, for that matter) because I believe him to be closer to the NHL than most. It’s very hard to deny Granberg high billing considering his rapid development pace and truckload of accolades.”

        Bingo! That guy has it right.

        Those are your words and you ranked Ganberg 8th among prospects in September. With suceess in the AHL, continued praise and a +15…Granberg is now even closer to the NHL.

        Sure Biggs could pull it together, but that’s not the current tend.

  • Both Biggs and Granberg dropped since our preseason rankings, and it wasn’t my vote that put Biggs ahead, trust me. Granberg was ranked 13-15 by every one of our writers. Biggs showed up high on some lists and low (or not even on) on other lists.

    Both of them dropped because we’ve seen some other players really step up and push those names down. We can debate all we want about whether Biggs should be one spot behind Granberg (which is a pretty boring debate tbh), but I don’t regret ranking Granberg 13th on my own personal list.