The Toronto Maple Leafs organization has drafted and developed a number of youngsters currently playing in the NHL, but with players like Connor Brown, Zach Hyman, William Nylander, Kasperi Kapanen and Travis Dermott now on their roster, the next step for the club is to keep replenishing the prospect pool to provide the Leafs with youngsters who can take step and replace veterans who retire, depart via free agency or are traded.
With some input from Sportsology’s Russ Cohen and Gus Katsaros of McKeen’s Hockey, 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.
Players such as Dermott, Kapanen, Frederik Gauthier, Andreas Borgman, Calle Rosen, Josh Leivo, Garret Sparks and Justin Holl are not eligible because they have played more than 30 NHL games or are over the age of 23.
We continue the list today with #21 and #20 of the Leafs Top 25 Prospects with a pair of players selected in the 2018 Draft in Dallas.
#25 – JD Greenway (Defense, Dubuque Fighting Saints – USHL)
#24 – Ian Scott (Goaltender, Prince Albert Raiders – WHL)
#23 - Martins Dzierkals (Winger, Orlando/ Toronto – ECHL/AHL)
#22 - Andrew Nielsen (Defense, Toronto Marlies – AHL)
#21 – Riley Stotts (Center, Swift Current Broncos/Calgary Hitmen)
The Maple Leafs addressed two thin areas of organizational depth (center and defense) in the 2018 Draft.
Stotts was the Toronto’s second selection in the third round (83rd overall). The 18-year-old Winnipeg, MB native struggled in his second WHL season with Swift Current, registering just three points in 22 games before being traded to Calgary.
The 6’0”, 172 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.
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.
#20 – Filip Kral (Defense, Spokane Chiefs – WHL)
Kral was the last of the four blueliners selected by the Leafs in Dallas. A native of the Czech Republic, the 18-year-old scored 35 points (9 goals, 26 assists) in 54 games in his first season in North America for the WHL’s Spokane Chiefs (an organization with close ties with Toronto through their former GM Tim Speltz).
As with the other defensemen (Rasmus Sandin, Sean Durzi and Mac Hollowell) selected by GM Kyle Dubas, Kral has skill, skating ability and hockey IQ, but is not particularly strong defensively and has trouble knocking opposing forwards off of the puck.
This is not video of the floors being washed at Scotiabank Arena, it is some serious flooding from the torrential downpour on Tuesday night.
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