The Toronto Maple Leafs organization has drafted and developed a number of youngsters currently playing in the NHL, but with players like Kasperi Kapanen, Andreas Johnsson and Travis Dermott on their roster, the next step for the club is to keep replenishing the prospect pool to provide the Leafs with youngsters who can step up and replace veterans who retire, depart via free agency or are traded.
As we did last summer, we will rank the club’s top 25 prospects over the next few weeks based on their progress in either the NCAA, CHL, Europe or the American Hockey League and their potential to make the Leafs roster and make a contribution in the future.
Players are not eligible for the list if they are 25 years old or over, or if they have played more than 30 NHL games:
Top 25 list
#25 – Eemeli Rasanen – D (Jokerit – KHL / Toronto Marlies – AHL)
#24 – Pontus Holmberg – LW (Vaxjo HC – SHL)
#23 – Mikhail Abramov – C (Victoriaville – QMJHL)
#22 – Nick Abruzzese - C (Chicago – USHL)
#21 – Teemu Kivihalme - D (Karpat – SM-Liiga)
#20 – Riley Stotts – C (Calgary – WHL)
#19 – Filip Kral - D (Spokane – WHL)
#18 – Mikko Kokkonen – D (Jukurit – SM Liiga)
#17 – Jesper Lindgren - D (HPK – SM Liiga / Toronto – AHL)
#16 – Joseph Duszak - D (Mercyhurst – NCAA / Toronto - AHL)
#15 – Mac Hollowell - D (Sault Ste. Marie – OHL / Toronto - AHL)
#14 – Semyon Der-Argushintsev – C (Peterborough – OHL / Newfoundland - ECHL)
#13 – Mason Marchment – LW (Toronto - AHL)
#12 – Adam Brooks – C (Toronto - AHL)
#11 – Ian Scott – G (Prince Albert - WHL)
2018 Ranking – 24
Scott made the biggest jump in my Top 25 prospects, from being a long-range project with some promise to being in the mix with Joseph Woll as Toronto’s potential future starting goalie.
The Calgary native was selected in the fourth round (110th overall) in the 2017 NHL Draft. Scott is tall and lanky (6’3”, 183 lb.), which are the physical requirements that most NHL teams are looking for in a goalie. After playing 50 games for the second straight year in Prince Albert and winning 24 of their 32 games, he made his professional debut for the Toronto Marlies at the end of the season and remained with the club through their run to the Calder Cup, participating in practices and working often with Leafs goaltending coach Steve Briere.
“(Steve is) really knowledgeable, he’s been around the league for a long time and he’s played pro hockey himself.” Scott said at the club’s Rookie Development Camp in late June. “He’s always open to questions and it’s a pretty open door, so whenever you don’t understand something or he wants you to try something, you just gotta roll with it and he’ll never point you in the wrong direction.”
That extra work paid off Scott, as the 19-year-old went 38-8-2 for the Raiders, with a microscopic 1.83 GAA and .932 save percentage, won CHL and WHL goaltender of the year, WHL First-Team All-Star and Playoff MVP and made Team Canada as Michael DiPietro’s backup at the 2019 World Junior.
With Woll signing his entry-level deal in the spring, the Leafs have two young netminders that will need playing time in the minors to develop, which likely means that one will be the starter for the Marlies and the other with the Newfoundland Growlers.
“Having that game opportunity is important to help develop your game, but at the same time getting used to pro shots in practice and having to work with experienced goalie coaches is also very important.” Scott said. “I believe I can play in the AHL next year. I’ve played a game and I keep using that as a confidence booster and draw back on that experience, so that is what I’m pushing for this year.”
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