Leafs Prospect Update: October 18, 2015

Marner Comes Alive, Piccinich Keeps Pace

After getting off to a rather slow start upon returning to the London Knights, top prospect Mitch Marner has begun heating up very quickly. Despite being held scoreless in a midweek tilt with Saginaw, Marner contributed three assists against Hamilton on Monday and another two goals and an assist against Sault Ste. Marie on Saturday. 

Six points in three games brings Marner’s points total to 10 points in seven games – good for 24th in OHL scoring. 

Better yet? Marner and fellow Leafs prospect J.J. Piccinich appear to be developing some chemistry. Not only did Piccinich score four goals and an assist in three games this week, but Marner assisted on all but one of those goals while Piccinich was on the ice for all but one of Marner’s points. 

Not a whole lot could have been expected out of Piccinich after he managed only four points in just 25 games last year with the Boston University Terriers, but lining up with Marner this season should do wonders for the former fourth round pick. He currently has 11 points in seven games.

UMD Sweeps Minnesota

The University of Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs – University of Minnesota Golden Gophers cross-campus rivalry is a pretty big one. This weekend, Dominic Toninato and Tony Cameranesi helped the Bulldogs sweep their more successful big brothers in inter-conference play. 

Toninato scored a goal in each of UMD’s 3-1 and 3-0 victories – his first two points of the season – while Cameranesi added an assist in both contests as well. Cameranesi now has three points in three games.

Nielsen Exceeding Expectations

Last season, before being a surprise third-round pick of the Leafs, Andrew Nielsen scored a pretty pedestrian 24 points in 59 games from the Lethbridge Hurricanes’ blueline. For all of the “high potential” picks that Toronto made in this past Entry Draft, Nielsen was a bit of a head scratcher – a big and tough, stay-at-home defenceman? Why?

Well, this is why, apparently… After scoring just one assist in his first four games, Nielsen has exploded with four goals and five assists in four straight multi-point games. Now with 10 points in eight games, Nielsen is tied for fifth in scoring amongst WHL defenders, just behind some big name prospects like the Philadelphia Flyers’ Travis Sanheim and Ivan Provorov.

  • Javid

    Andrew Nielsen has to be the most intriguing prospect. 2 years ago, a pick like this would’ve killed me. But I have something I didn’t have before… trust in this organization. And if they like Dermott over Sprong, and Nielsen this high… Then I do too.

  • magesticRAGE

    Dzierkals has also been ripping it up as well. Leaf prospects on a whole have been doing great. Korostelevcou use a bit more help in Sarnia, but having Zacha back helps a ton. I’m encouraged.

      • silentbob

        There are many reasons I think Tkachuk will be their target in June.

        Three is the familiarity with Hunter. There will also be familiarity/chemistry with Marner & Piccinich. His style suits what the leafs are doing/building with their young prospects perfectly. And using any pick other then the first to take him isn’t a stretch.

        2nd option – Max Jones

        • Gary Empey

          Leafs would pick 5th overall as it stands. They have an 8.5% of winning the lottery.

          5th overall could land us:

          Dante Fabbro
          Born Jun 20 1998 — Whistler, BC
          [17 yrs. ago]
          Height 6.01 — Weight 185

          In 12 games this year he has 6 goals and 12 assists for Penticton Vees

          Here is a hot link to the new 2016 NHL Draft Lottery Simulator. Leafs pick 5th overall at the moment.