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Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

Toronto Maple Leafs Prospects Better Than Some Think

The Toronto Maple Leafs are widely viewed as a team with not much of a future when it comes to their prospects. With years of John Ferguson Jr., Brian Burke and Dave Nonis for the most part taking safe picks, the Leafs haven’t seen many home-grown stars.

Take into account the longest-serving Maple Leaf is home-grown in Nikolai Kulemin, there isn’t much much more after him. If you look at the Leafs’ lineup on their website, there are only five players that they drafted and one additional player they signed out of college.

Now, do the Leafs have an abundance of players better suited for bottom-six roles? Yes, but I don’t like how some people lump youngsters like Josh Leivo and Peter Holland in with that group.

If you look at Holland when he played with the Leafs last season, he played much better when he was on the first- or second-line. Playing him in the bottom-six just seemed ineffective. Leivo looks to have the offensive potential of a second-line player. Let’s not forget Carter Ashton, who, once he finds his scoring touch in the NHL, could be looked on as much more than he is right now.

The Leafs then have Connor Brown and Andreas Johnson who could be top-six players if everything goes right. It certainly has so far in their careers with Brown winning the OHL’s MVP award and Johnson winning the SEL’s Rookie of the Year award this season.

Is Jerry D’Amigo a bottom-six winger? Yes, but seeing how he played with the Leafs last season brings some hope that he can at least provide some offense. That is why I would prefer him being on the third line.

Then there are players like Tyler Biggs and David Broll who could eventually serve as upgrades on Colton Orr and Frazer McLaren. Of course, you can’t forget Frederik Gauthier, a potential Dave Bolland-type player on the third line in the next couple seasons.

As for the blue line, at the rate that they are churning out surprising defensemen, the Leafs will have a lot of turnover in the next couple seasons. Matt Finn will be a top-four defenseman. Petter Granberg should be as well, paired with one of the Leafs’ young, offensive d-men. Stuart Percy should serve as a reliable bottom-pairing defenseman one day. After them, the Leafs have defenseman that are ready to step in in case of injury, like Andrew MacWilliam and Korbinian Holzer.

In net, they don’t have much, but when you have a young Jonathan Bernier, the need for a blue-chip goaltender is lessened. That being said, Garret Sparks could eventually serve as a backup. Also, who knows what the future holds for Antoine Bibeau, who is currently playing in the Mastercard Memorial Cup with the Val d’Or Foreurs after being named the QMJHL Playoff MVP.

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Tags: Toronto Maple Leafs

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