Over the course of the year, the Leafs have played a number of rookies. Some were call-ups from the AHL Marlies that got the chance to shine or were given their big break.
The Leafs have made a few bad moves, trading Draft picks and prospects away. I listed all the slip-ups on B/R back in the day, counting down the best players the Leafs have traded.
But after seeing a few of the current crop of youngsters, I have decided to focus on a positive (I know, very unlike me). Here's the top five Leafs prospects in the system!
Don’t be alarmed if you’ve never heard of half these guys. It’s to be expected.
Alex Berry: 6'2", 212 lbs., 23 years old
He’s a big guy and knows it; he uses his size to his advantage. He could be a third line guy, primarily serving as a checker.
But that's not to say he doesn't know how to contribute to the offense. Indeed, he has 30 points playing in Massachusetts.
He recently signed a two-year entry-level contract which will see him with the Marlies for the remainder of the season, and I’m sure at some point next year we will see him in the bigs playing for the Leafs.
Viktor Stalberg: 6'4", 208 lbs., 23 years old
Never heard of him? I’m not surprised. He was drafted 166th overall in 2006 by a man all Leafs fans love, John Ferguson, Jr. When he was taken, he may have been regarded as a crap pick, a "best-of-the-worst" kind of guy.
But this year, the big kid is breaking out. Playing for the University of Vermont, Stalberg is in serious consideration for the Hobey Baker Award.
In his first two years, he had a total of only 17 goals. He has 22 already in 2008-09. He will one day be a top-six player in the Leafs' lineup.
Chris DiDomenico: 5'11", 165 lbs., 20 years old
I think most of you are familiar with DiDomenico, who played with the Canadian Juniors and won gold this past year. With his junior team, St. John of the QMJHL, he has 34 points, 23 of which are assists.
In my opinion, he'll be a great complementary center to the man I rank No. 1 on this list.
Dale Mitchell: 5'9", 207 lbs., 20 years old
Currently playing for Windsor in the OHL, he has 68 points in 66 games and has compiled a plus-24 mark.
But beyond his numbers, Mitchell proved that speed is his main weapon in his first few seasons with the Oshawa Generals. He was hands-down the fastest on that squad.
This guy will fit perfectly with the new Maple Leafs, who are quick and youthful.
Greg Scott: 6'0", 178 lbs., 20 years old
If you’ve never heard of Greg Scott, then listen up. In 65 games with the WHL's Seattle club, the kid has 76 points on 38 goals!
Last year, he had 32 points total, but this season, he has shown much improvment. He plays right wing, which is a position that needs addressing for the Leafs.
Scott could carry the Leafs offense now, and certainly will later.
Who do you think should be on this list? What guys have your attention? Let me know, leave a comment.
Note: For people that say I’m too heavy on stats and goals, guess what? That’s all that really matters nowadays. Stats are your friend. Enforcers aren’t top priorities anymore.