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 - Defense, Jokerit – KHL / Toronto Marlies – AHL
#24 – Pontus Holmberg – Left Wing, Vaxjo HC – SHL
#23 – Mikhail Abramov – Center, Victoriaville – QMJHL
#22 – Nick Abruzzese - Center, Chicago Steel – USHL
#21 – Teemu Kivihalme - Defense, Karpat – SM-Liiga
#20 – Riley Stotts - Center, Calgary - WHL
2018 Ranking – #21
Kyle Dubas focused on addressing two areas where the club’s organizational depth was thin (center and defense) in his first draft as Maple Leafs GM in Dallas, TX.
Stotts was the Toronto’s second selection in the third round (83rd overall) in 2018. The Winnipeg, MB native struggled to get adequate playing time over two seasons with the Swift Current Broncos and only began to show his talent after being traded to Calgary.
The 5’11”, 179 lb. center seized on the opportunity with the Hitmen and playing in their top six and special teams, scoring 41 points (17 goals, 24 assists) in 47 games. In his second year, Stotts set career-highs in goals (19), assists (38)
According to HockeyProspect.com’s Mark Edwards, Stotts is offensive minded and a gifted playmaker, who is an effortless skater with excellent edgework. The area of concern is his consistency and that is something that could prevent him from making and thriving in the NHL.
Stotts did show that consistency last season in Calgary and will have to take a big stride to earn an entry-level contract from the Leafs before next June
"The staff they have here on the development team is next to none. So when I’m here, just want to take advantage of it as much as I can, learn as much as I can to take home and implement it into my game."
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