Welcome to the TLN Top Twenty Leafs Prospects Midterm Ranking, where we judge and scrutinize very young people and tell them they probably won’t realize their dreams. I mean, maybe if we were ranking some other team’s prospects then, yeah, sure. But no. Not here.
Eight writers from the TLN staff submitted their updated Top Twenty lists over the weekend and the votes have been tallied. Today, we’ll focus on our Honourable Mentions, who all received votes in at least one writer’s list, but didn’t have enough votes to crack our overall Top Twenty.
A note on criteria… We defined prospects and players 23 years of age or younger, and having played less than 60 NHL games to date. So, for example, a guy like Carter Ashton (23 years old, 54 NHL games played) barely made the list of eligible prospects.
After signing a three-year entry level contract with the Leafs as an undrafted free agent last September, 18-year old defender Cody Donaghey went on to score four goals and 15 points in 27 games before an ugly knee-on-knee injury put him on the shelf for the remainder of this year, including the Memorial Cup.
While he’s currently a Rempart, it has already been announced that Donaghey will be traded to the Halifax Moosehead in the offseason to finalize the last part of the deal that sent goaltender and Montreal Canadiens prospect Zach Fucale to Quebec this past December.
Donaghey is a talented defenceman, and had a strong prospect camp and rookie tournament earlier this year. Considering his skillset, I imagine he’ll find himself in our Top Twenty next year, but we’ll need to see more of him. His sample size is limited, through no fault of his own.
While Tony Cameranesi ranked 14th in our preseason rankings just a few months ago, he barely missed out this time around. While I personally ranked him 16th on my list, Cameranesi failed to make it on five of our eight writers’ lists.
The Leafs’ fifth round pick in 2011, Cameranesi is known for his skating ability and impressive speed. In his freshman season, Cameranesi scored 34 points in 38 games for the University of Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs, but has been unable to match that impressive pace ever since. Now, as a third-year college player, Cameranesi has scored just six goals and 19 points in 26 games. Excitement is fading.
Another newcomer, Dakota Joshua was drafted by the Leafs in the fifth round of the 2014 Draft. Currently in the USHL with the Sioux Falls Stampede (but committed to THE Ohio State University for next season), Joshua had a strong start to the year but has cooled off as of late. In his first 15 games of the season, Joshua scored 19 points in 15 games. Since then, eight points in 17 games.
When we poll our writers again following the 2015 Draft, I doubt Joshua will have been able to make enough ground and crack our Top Twenty in the summer. That being said, a strong start to his NCAA career could start turning some heads in Joshua’s direction.
Marlies forward David Broll’s name showed up on two of our eight TLN writers’ lists, so here we are. Broll may have once upon of time been a positive possession player – hell, maybe he still is – but he certainly doesn’t do much with the puck when he has it.
In 94 career AHL games, Broll has managed only three goals and 13 assists. In the ECHL, Broll has eight points in 14 games so far this season. At 22, and with the Leafs’ prospect pool set to improve as it looks to build for the future, Broll is going to have a tough time cracking our Top Twenty in the future, let alone an NHL lineup.
While he’s actually had a decent start to his pro career, Ryan Rupert misses out on the Top 20 list, as he actually only got ranked by one of our writers.
Rupert has scored five goals and 12 points in 25 games so far with the Marlies this season, but has also spent time with the Orlando Solar Bears in the ECHL, scoring 14 points in 17 games there as well.
Not bad numbers, but Rupert is a 5’9 forward that racks up penalty minutes and didn’t crack a point-per-game scoring pace in Junior until his fourth season with the London Knights. He’s a longshot, at best.
This is a predictable group, as 2014 draft picks like J.J. Piccinich (Boston U., 2A in 18GP), Nolan Vesey (U. of Maine, 15P in 25GP) and Pierre Engvall (Frolunda J20, 23P in 22GP) haven’t yet been able to make a significant impression on our writers and… wait… Tyler Biggs? TYLER BIGGS IS HERE?
Oh God, things have gotten ugly for the former first round pick. Biggs only showed up in one writer’s list and didn’t even garner enough votes to crack our main Honourable Mentions list. I mean, he’s getting mentioned in the section called of this article called “The Rest”? Wow.
He’s got six points in 35 games with the Marlies this season.
Come back tomorrow for #20 through #16 on our list of Top Twenty Leafs Prospects.