There are many things I am jerkish about in hockey and tonight we stumble onto another. I spend all summer waiting for the Rookie Tournament, but as soon as it starts I go into my “you don’t learn anything from these games” narrative. I feel the same way about the preseason. I don’t care if the Leafs win, if Nylander averages two points per game, etc. It pretty much all comes down to what Babcock gets out of this experience, and I’m most interested in seeing what he does with what is arguably the most interesting Leafs roster in over twenty years.
Last week’s power rankings were pretty much limited to who I thought would make up the Leafs opening day roster (assuming they were under contract). This week, to keep the power rankings fresh I’ve opened them up to be the top twenty players still in Leafs camp. Since 16 players were dropped last night you won’t see Ryan Rupert on this list, so I guess I’ll have to think of a new number one.
1. MORGAN RIELLY (LAST WEEK #1)
He may not always be the face of the Leafs, but I think at least for the 2015-16 season he gets that honour by default. He’s pretty much the de facto first defenseman of the future for the Leafs, and that’s not an unreasonable expectation. If he’s his shaky in that role at first, this is the season for that to happen and I have no doubt he’ll get to where he needs to be eventually.
— CarltonTheBear (@CarltonTheBear) September 14, 2015
2. WILLIAM NYLANDER (LAST WEEK NR)
Odds are Nylander will ultimately be a Marlie this season. That’s the best for his development as a center, best for the organizations long term cap management, and probably best for Nylander too. Odds are also pretty good that he’s going to make it incredibly tough to send him down as I struggle with the notion that the Leafs have three forwards better than him right now, let alone 12.
3. MITCH MARNER (LAST WEEK NR)
I’m pretty sure when ever a list includes Nylander and Marner, they have to appear next to each other in the rankings. You can debate the order, but for for short term I like Nylander, but know that Marner could be the most special player to wear a Leafs uniform since Mats Sundin (this now feels like forever ago).
— Cole Swick (@CSwick1694) September 12, 2015
I disagree 69420% about the sentiment about the number.
4. MICHAEL GRABNER (LAST WEEK NR
Speaking of Grabbos, welcome to Grabbo 2: Electric Boogaloo. Grabner was one of my favourite prospects to watch when I lived in pre-Jets Winnipeg and had nothing more than the Manitoba Moose to keep me entertained. The Leafs adding a lightning fast winger who will definitely benefit from increased ice time sounds wonderful. The fact that he’s a decent PK guy is also nice. The fact that he’s either going to wind up a solid player for the Leafs or be another trading chip at the trade deadline makes it a no brainer adding him for what was essentially AHL depth and Taylor Beck.
Scouting reports on him are that he’s “A bad widdle boy” pic.twitter.com/1ImXeYcWCA
— #jontent (@YakovMironov) September 17, 2015
5. JAMES VAN RIEMSDYK (LAST WEEK #2)
JVR has fallen in the rankings strictly do to my inclusion of a bunch of players who I didn’t consider eligible last week, but he’s still pretty much the best offensive threat the Leafs have to offer.
6. JAKE GARDINER (LAST WEEK #4)
I love Jake Gardiner and you should too. Also respect for anyone who has 15 items in his fridge and three of them are jars of pickles. The two jars of salsa is also solid.
7. NAZEM KADRI (LAST WEEK #5)
Kadri’s baby signing is already in midseason form.
8. JONATHAN BERNIER (LAST WEEK #3)
It’s rare for someone to slide in power rankings before they’ve even hit the ice for their first exhibition game, but Bernier’s loyalty to his awful lion masks have him starting the season off on the wrong foot.
9. DION PHANEUF (LAST WEEK #6)
Normally I’d add my $.02 in here, but instead I’ll just link to this Phaneuf interview. I’m expecting a decent year out of Dion and will be rooting for him, but it’s mainly so he becomes a moveable asset.
— TSN (@TSN_Sports) September 15, 2015
10. BRAD BOYES (LAST WEEK NR)
11. ZACH HYMAN (LAST WEEK NR)
I basically want both of these players to make the Leafs just so we can hear “Boyes to Hyman” on the play by play.
12. CURTIS GLENCROSS (LAST WEEK NR)
Sticking with the PTO players, Glencross is probably the closest thing to a blue chip for having interest at the trade deadline. Scrappy veteran sells pretty well. And if he’s got a cheap contract and any thing resembling a respectable point total he’ll bring back a #nice return.
13. MARTIN MARINCIN (LAST WEEK #9)
One of my favourite trends of preseason is beginning to overestimate how good the defense looks on paper. That really isn’t the case this season for the Leafs because everyone is either incredibly inexperienced or simply not good enough for the role their in. Marincin is still a player that gives me a lot of hope simply because I have faith in Peter Chiarelli and the Oilers organization being terrible at evaluating talent.
14. DANIEL WINNIK (LAST WEEK #7)
Daniel Winnik could be a complete disaster but I’ll still love him because his name lends itself to opportunities to make horrible MSPaint pictures.
15. SHAWN MATTHIAS (LAST WEEK #8)
Some Leafs training camp lines for second straight day:
Which likely mean diddly.
— James Mirtle (@mirtle) September 19, 2015
While Mirtle is absolutely right about line combos meaning nothing at this point, this line combination could mean exciting things for Matthias’ offensive production this season.
16. SCOTT HARRINGTON (LAST WEEK NR)
Harrington had the opportunity that everyone who has ever suffered through Joffrey Lupul’s Instagram feed has wanted to do. He got the chance to hit Joffrey Lupul. A special shout out to Scott for showing enough restraint in not breaking Joffrey, who we might actually need to use at some point this season.
Put this kid in the opening night lineup!
— TSN (@TSN_Sports) September 20, 2015
17. JAMES REIMER (LAST WEEK #10)
James Reimer unveiled his new mask this week, which is better in every way than Jonathan Bernier’s mask.
— theScore (@theScore) September 21, 2015
18. GARRET SPARKS (LAST WEEK NR)
By most accounts Garret has looked pretty good in camp so far and might be the front runner for the Marlies starting gig. Of course that has nothing to do with how he made the rankings, it’s all about the pads baby.
— Austin Owens (@_AustinOwens) September 13, 2015
19. KASPERI KAPANEN (LAST WEEK NR)
Okay, so he’s not as hyped as Nylander or Marner, but that doesn’t change the fact that I’m incredibly excited to see what Kapanen can do in camp. He’s likely Marlies bound, in fact I hope he’s Marlies bound, but I don’t doubt that Kasperi might make it difficult to send him down right when AHL camps open.
20. DEVIN SETOGUCHI (LAST WEEK NR)
While I might not be as hopeful for Setoguchi as I am with the other two PTO players, I think he has the solid potential to be a Marlies addition, and with some positive improvement over the season worth upgrading from an AHL contract to a NHL one.
— AOL keyword: Mike (@mikeFAIL) August 26, 2015