Toronto Maple Leafs Prospect Report: Dakota Joshua


Every week throughout the NHL season and off-season we will be updating you on the development, potential and realistic expectations for key Toronto Maple Leafs prospects with up-to-date stats, analysis and scouting reports.

Dakota Joshua

The Leafs’ Head Of Amateur Scouting Dave Morrison said it best when they drafted him;

"He’s another swing at the fence for us. A real potential guy. He’s very raw in a lot of different ways. He’s tall, he’s a very athletic kid, and we saw some flashes of some real good skill toward the end of the year with that team. His coaches couldn’t say enough good things about him. He’s very diligent in his two-way game and he appears to have some offensive potential, so we’re really excited.”"

Getting To Know Dakota Joshua

Age: 19 Years Old (May 15th, 1996)

Position: Center / Left Wing

Shoots: Left Handed

Height / Weight: 6ft2 / 182lbs

Drafted: 5th Round, 128th Overall, 2014 NHL Entry Draft

Contract Status: Unsigned, as he will be attending Ohio State next season, the Leafs have possibly the next 4 seasons before having to sign Dakota Joshua to an entry-level contract. However, they also risk another team signing him as a free agent if he opts not to sign with the Leafs – like the Blackhawks discovered with Kevin Hayes (signed with New York Rangers), and Anaheim discovered with Justin Schultz (signed with Edmonton)

League / Team: USHL / Sioux Falls Stampede

Potential is a word that you will hear thrown around when talking about Dakota Joshua. The player with two first names only just turned 19 and at 6ft2 he has a VERY appealing and projectable NHL body. He has a large reach, and after spending two seasons in the USHL will attend Ohio State for the next 2-4 years and add much-needed mass to his rather lanky frame.

Dakota projects more as a goal scoring, in front of the net on the power play, power forward than a sniper or playmaker, and his lack of defensive game and low assist stats will likely lead to him being moved to winger at the professional level. Dakota Joshua is such a raw talent that it is difficult to make any kind of accurate predictions about him as you aren’t sure what kind of player he will truly become.

If he keeps growing into his farm and adding muscle mass, you could see him rise as high as a Patrice Bergeron (without the defensive prowess) offensive center. If he transitions to the wing (like he should) then the Leafs’ very own James Van Riemsdyk becomes a good comparable for the power forward role his game will likely follow.

In his draft year he was buried behind a very veteran heavy Sioux Falls lineup, but this past season he was counted on a lot more for his offensive chops and responded reasonably well with a 20G-22A-42Pts stat line in 54 games. With 74 penalty minutes thrown in, Joshua can throw his weight around and will create most of his offense off the boards and down in the corner, adding some more muscle to his frame will only help him in this attempt. as usual, does a great job of breaking down Dakota Joshua’s game:

"“Joshua is a raw but offensively dynamic forward prospect. His tall frame suggests he can be a powerful force once he adds strength and bulk… Long-range Joshua projects as an offensively-inclined forward with the size to compete in the small areas. He will have time to refine his skills and add the bulk and strength necessary to play pro hockey during his college career.”"

Dakota just finished wrapping up a USHL playoff that culminated in his team winning the USHL championship, the Clark Cup. Scoring 4 goals and 13 points in 11 games, he showed a penchant for clutch and timely scoring, including starting the scoring off in the Clark Cup final.

Dakota Joshua is an intriguing talent for the Maple Leafs and could end up being a steal of a pick in the 5th round. He will take time in college to truly develop and add meat to his frame, and the sooner he transitions to the wing the more realistic his NHL chances are.

NHL Upside: Dakota Joshua

Upside: 2nd Line Power Forward, Net Front Presence on the Powerplay, capable of 25+ goals and 50+ points

Realistic Projection: 3rd Line Checking/Energy Player

NHL Ready: 2017-2018 at the earliest

NHL Player Comparable: Travis Zajac if he sticks at center, James Van Riemsdyk if he is moved to the wing

Next week we’ll continue to break down the Leaf’s prospect pipeline.

As always, feel free to comment below or reach out to me on twitter @TorrinBatchelor as you can never have too many conversations about hockey in a day!

Next: Mike Babcock: What The Leafs Are Getting

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