Leafs Prospect Update – December 14th, 2014

Gauthier Produces at Team Canada Camp

While there’s no guarantees that Gauthier will return for a second go-around with Team Canada later this month, he’s had a good enough camp to survive the team’s first round of roster cuts.

In two (exhibition) blowouts over the CIS All-Stars this weekend, Gauthier picked up two assists. On Friday night, Gauthier set up Kingston Frontenacs forward and 2015 top prospect Lawson Crouse, while on Sunday afternoon it was Tampa Bay Lightning prospect Brayden Point.

Following Sunday’s game, Team Canada released forwards Nick Baptiste, Morgan Klimchuk and Remi Elie as well as defencemen Chris Bigras and Travis Sanheim. That makes Gauthier one of 15 forwards left on the roster, with just a handful of cuts still to come. While it’s perhaps likely that Gauthier would survive a second wave of cuts, things could get significantly more complicated if Vancouver’s Bo Horvat or Ottawa’s Curtis Lazar are released by their respective NHL clubs to take part in the tournament.

Say what you will about Gauthier’s lack of offence (which, to be fair, is an issue), but there’s few players left at camp who have the experience and defensive prowess that Gauthier does. 

That, and he wore an ‘A’ for the team during one of their recent exhibition games, which has to count for something, right?

I’d be surprised if he didn’t make the team.

Verhaeghe’s Impressive Streak Comes to an End

Verhaeghe has pretty damn good for a couple weeks now, but his impressive point streak came to an abrupt and ugly end on Saturday night in a 7-1 Niagara loss to Saginaw.

Prior to the manhandling, Verhaeghe was on a lengthy eight game point streak in which he scored six goals and 15 points. My calculator tells me that those are some filthy numbers. For context, Verhaeghe only had 13 points in the first 22 games of the season, prior to this recent streak.

It certainly helps that Verhaeghe now has Josh Ho-Sang (13 points in 13 games since arriving in Niagara) and Brendan Perlini (nine points in six games since returning from injury) to play alongside. As the Ice Dogs aren’t a terrible team anymore (maybe just kind of bad now but not terrible?), Verhaeghe’s numbers should improve and he should finish the year as a plus-point-per-game player.

Johnson Continues To Score  All The Goals

I don’t know if the Leafs have another triggerman in the organization quite like Andreas Johnson.

The former 7th round pick started off the week with a bang, scoring a goal and adding an assist in Frolunda’s 5-3 win over Helsinki IFK. That’s a big, big deal, because this game was the second half of Frolunda’s Champions Hockey League quarter finals home-and-home series, and Helsinki won the first game 2-1. By beating Helsinki by two goals, Frolunda advances to the “1/2 Finals” in January and will play another two-game series with Oulun Karpat.

In Champions Hockey League competition, Johnson is first in tournament goal scoring with 11 goals in nine games, and second in total points in 23.

Upon returning to the SHL, Johnson would score another two goals in two weekend games against Orebro and Leksand, pushing his goal total to 13 and placing him in a three-way tie for the SHL goal scoring lead with former Toronto Marlies great Greg Scott and some dude named Tuomas Kiiskinen. 

Other News…

  • Dominic Toninato scored two goals on Friday and another on Saturday in a University of Minnesota-Duluth weekend split with Michigan Tech. Toninato’s 13 goals on the season leads the NCHC and ties him for 3rd in all of the NCAA.
  • William Nylander scored in both of his games this week. He now has 19 points in 19 games, which is very, very good.
  • J.J. Piccinich scored his first goal of the season (and his college career) in Saturday’s 5-1 Boston University win over RPI. He’s now got two points in 14 games. 
  • Fellow Hockey East freshman Nolan Vesey had a three-game point streak snapped on Saturday, scoring two goals and an assist in that span. He’s got six points in 17 games.
  • Cody Donaghey was on the wrong end of a nasty knee-on-knee hit this past Wednesday and could be out of action for a couple months. Moncton’s Will Smith has been suspended five games for the dangerous hit.
  • Max Everson still exists.

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  • barry.moore23

    Do you guys accept downtrodden, dejected, all hope has been stripped from the bare soul, confused Oiler fans that just can’t take any more and are now cheering for the Leafs ?? I have been a USA Oiler fan for 30 years now but am at the breaking point. Watch all the Leafs games on Center Ice.

    Just letting you know I might be joining you.



    • barry.moore23

      If you are downtrodden, dejected and without hope you have most of the qualities we look for in a fellow Leaf fan. Add utterly baffled and welcome aboard any time. At least things are looking up here.