Prospect Report: Breaking Down The Future Of The Toronto Maple Leafs


Sep 23, 2014; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Maple Leafs forward William Nylander (62) heads up ice against the Philadelphia Flyers during the first period at Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

With the Maple Leafs looking for anything to distract themselves and their fan base from some of the worst hockey anyone has ever seen… taking a look at some of the exciting players coming up the pipeline seems a great place to start.

In the last couple of drafts the Leafs – contrary to popular belief – have actually done a fantastic job of accumulating talent throughout the draft. In this new weekly segment we’re going to be taking a look at the state of the Leafs prospect system, highlighting individual player success and maybe giving Leafs Nation hope that this team will (eventually) get better.


According to the Leafs top prospects break down as so;

  1. William Nylander (C/RW) – Toronto Marlies (AHL)
  2. Josh Leivo (LW/RW) – Toronto Marlies (AHL)
  3. Matt Finn (D) – Toronto Marlies (AHL)
  4. Frederik Gauthier (C) – Rimouski Oceanic (QMJHL)
  5. Stuart Percy (LD) – Toronto Marlies (AHL)
  6. Connor Brown (RW) – Toronto Marlies (AHL)
  7. Carter Verhaeghe (C) – Niagara Ice Dogs (OHL)
  8. Andreas Johnson (RW) – Frolunda HC (SHL)
  9. Carter Ashton (LW/RW) – Toronto Marlies (AHL)
  10. Rinat Valiev (D) – Kootenay Ice (WHL)
  11. Greg McKegg (C/LW) – Toronto Marlies (AHL)
  12. Petter Granberg (RD) – Toronto Marlies (AHL)
  13. Tom Nilsson (D) – Toronto Marlies (AHL)
  14. Victor Loov (D) – Toronto Marlies (AHL)
  15. Tyler Biggs (RW/C) – Toronto Marlies (AHL)

Those names are going to be coming up a lot in the next few weeks so for this feature we’ll take a look at some of the Leafs lesser known prospects for this weeks segment.

Dominic Toninato – C – NCAA – University of Minnesota-Duluth

The Leafs 5th round pick in the 2012 draft leads his team in goals (14), points (22) and plus/minus (+16) in 25 games played. In his second year with the team Dominic has really established himself as a 200 foot player who is unafraid of mixing it up in the corners or in front of the net. He is a born leader and excels on both the power play and penalty kill.

Upside: Defensively Gifted No.2 Center / NHL Ready: 2017-2018

Tony Cameranesi – C – NCAA – University of Minnesota-Duluth

Another 5th round pick (this is a recurring theme) for the Leafs back in the 2011 draft, Cameranesi is a teammate of Toninato at UMD. Where Toninato is gritty and puck hungry, Cameranesi is all about speed and skill. He’s second in team scoring to Toninato with 19 points and figures to be more of a power play specialist if he makes it to the pro level. Not that he’s lacking defensively but with his smaller frame and no real edge to his game he isn’t suited for a bottom 6 role in the pros.

Upside: Depth forward and power play specialist / NHL Ready: 2018-2019

Sam Carrick – C – AHL – Toronto Marlies

Guess what round the former Brampton Battalion Captain was drafted in 2010? If you guessed the 5th round, you’d be correct – I wasn’t kidding about this being a repetitive theme. If his name sounds familiar it is because he got his first cup of coffee with the Leafs this season (10GP, 11SOG, -1, 2PIM) averaging about five minutes a game in a reserve fourth line capacity. He brings grit, responsibility and unheralded offensive play – he led the Marlies with 14pts in the month of December. He’s a hard nosed player who likes to really play the body and get into the hard areas of the ice, skating could improve a tad but his hockey smarts make it an even playing field in most situations.

Upside: Bottom 6 role player and penalty kill specialist / NHL Ready: 2015-2016

Dakota Joshua – C – USHL – Sioux Falls Stampede

I won’t lie, I picked Dakota purely because he was also drafted in the 5th round last summer. However, as much as Joshua is clearly a project player, the Leafs really feel that they have a potential diamond in the rough here. Joshua has a very high offensive ceiling, but a lot of other things need to come together in his game before he is anywhere near pro ready. He’s tied for second in scoring on his team with 11 goals, 16 assists and 27 points in 32 games. He brings plus skating, great vision and the kind of agility needed for a player of his size to survive the rigours of the pro game. His decision-making needs to improve, as does his play without the puck.

Upside: Top 6 playmaking forward / NHL Ready: 2019-2020

Just so you don’t feel like I ripped you off with teasing you with the top prospect listing above…

 Petter Granberg – RD – Toronto Marlies/Maple Leafs does a great job of summarizing Granberg’s game:

"A defensive defender with very good size, Granberg has both strong defensive acumen and can chip in with some offense from time to time with a strong first-pass. He plays a very smart defensive game and is rarely caught out of position. Does a very good job containing opposition forwards in the defensive zone due to his large wing span and body position."

Drafted in the 4th round back in 2010, the 6’3 205lb Swede brings the kind of safe and reliable play that Carl Gunnarsson used to provide, except with a decidedly meaner and more physical edge. Granberg is arguably the most pro ready of Toronto’s prospects and would have been on the team from the start had it not been for a poor training camp combined with the offseason additions of right shooting defensive defencemen in Stephane Robidas and Roman Polak. Granberg will never become a Norris trophy defender, nor score more than say 20 points. However, he will offer the kind of safe, smart and dependable play that the leafs have desperately craved for years out of their blue line.

Upside: No.4/5 Defensive Defender, PK Specialist / NHL Ready: 2014-2015

Next week we’ll continue breaking down some of the lesser known prospects in the pipeline but also hit on some of the “flashier” names. As always feel free to comment below as you can never have too many conversations about hockey in a day.