Toronto Maple Leafs Prospects That Should Make The Team Next Season


It’s more than fair to say that the Toronto Maple Leafs will have more than a few of their current prospects as permanent fixtures in their lineup.

Now, we’ve seen a few of these prospects in stints with the Leafs this season. However, that’s just what they were, stints. These players have yet to stay with the Leafs permanently, whether due to injuries or lackluster play. Next year, it should be different.

With the Leafs in rebuilding mode, it’s more than likely that a few players will not return next season. There are the obvious rumors surrounding players like Phil Kessel, Dion Phaneuf, Tyler Bozak and Joffrey Lupul. Whether any of them return still remains to be seen. However, if they do get moved, they will need to be replaced.

So, who should get their shot next season?

Stuart Percy, Defenseman, 21

Percy has played nine games with the Maple Leafs this season, contributing three assists. Prior to this season, there were doubts that Percy’s game would not translated to the NHL that well. However, he was one of the Leafs best defensemen in training camp and earned a spot with the Leafs. An injury cut his stint short, getting sent down to the Toronto Marlies when he recovered.

Even though his stint was short, Percy should get the chance to stick with the Leafs permanently next season.

Josh Leivo, Left Wing, 21

Another Leaf prospect who has had a nine-game stint with the Leafs this year, Leivo has been waiting for a permanent shot for what seems like an eternity. A goal this season to go along with the goal and assist that he had in a seven-game stint last season, he has shown that he can contribute offensively at the NHL level. Perhaps if he can get better line-mates in his next call-up, he could gather up even more points.

A lot of people have compared to Lupul. If the Leafs manage to trade Lupul in the off-season, perhaps Leivo can take his spot.

Connor Brown, Right Wing, 21

Picture this: The Maple Leafs somehow win the draft lottery this year and pick Connor McDavid. Not only would the Leafs get the obvious aspects of having McDavid in the lineup, but they would have the added plus of having one of his former line-mates with the Erie Otters.

Brown graduated to the Marlies this season and currently leads the team in points (45) and is tied for the lead in goals (16), as a rookie in the AHL. Even if the Leafs don’t get McDavid, Brown could be an offensive game-breaker for the Leafs.

Brendan Leipsic, Left Wing, 20

Leipsic is second on the Marlies with 41 points, however 35 of those points came while playing for the Milwaukee Admirals. Since being acquired in the Cody Franson/Mike Santorelli deal, he has six points in six games. Not too shabby for a new acquisition.

While the Leafs could elect to keep Leipsic with the Marlies for this season, Leipsic’s antagonistic ways of playing the game would give the Leafs another player alongside Leo Komarov to get on other team’s nerves. That’s the type of stuff that can keep games exciting during a rebuild.

Tom Nilsson, Defenseman, 21

Nilsson will never light the scoreboard on fire but that’s not his game. He’s a defensive defenseman that could certainly fit in the system the Leafs are currently implementing under Peter Horacek.

While this is Nilsson’s first season in North America, he did play 50 games for Frolunda of the Swedish Hockey League last season. He’s the type of defenseman that the Leafs might play alongside Morgan Rielly or Jake Gardiner down the road.

Christopher Gibson, Goalie, 22

If the Leafs choose to trade James Reimer or even Jonathan Bernier in the off-season, I could see the Leafs giving Gibson the chance to be the back-up goalie next season. This course of action would also give Antoine Bibeau the bulk of the playing time for Marlies, possibly accelerating his development.

Next: Toronto Marlies Report

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