Toronto Maple Leafs Top 20 Young Leafs: No.17-20

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Sep 24, 2014; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Maple Leafs defenceman Viktor Loov (65) tries to control the puck against Ottawa Senators forward Jean-Gabriel Pageau (44) during the first period at the Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports /



The 20th ranked Young Leafs player in the system, voted by the writers, is Victor Loov.

Starting off our 2nd annual Top 20 Young Leafs ranking, coming in at No.20 is Victor Loov. Victor Loov was draft by the Leafs with the 209th pick in the 7th round of the 2012 NHL entry draft. The 6ft2, 201lb Dman has spent the last 3 seasons playing professional hockey in the SHL and AHL. While he will never be confused with Erik Karlsson, only putting up 15 points in 55 games with the Marlies last season. The talented Swede is a smooth puck handler, that has a poise beyond his years and excels at zone exits, either by skating the puck out or with short, crisp passes.

Besides his smooth skating and puck moving Viktor Loov will hit everything that moves, even when it’s not good for him. I don’t just mean bumping into guys, I mean obliterating them with open ice hip checks. Loov is a smart positional player, who rarely gets caught out of position. He will hit you, he will hurt you, he will go through you. In many ways he is very similar to current fan favourite Leo Komarov.

HockeysFuture says this about him:

"Loov is a big developing two-way defenseman from Sweden. He can chip in offensively and also plays a sound defensive game. Loov moves the puck well with strong passing and also has the ability to skate the puck out of his own zone. Not overly proficient in any one area, his combination of size, eagerness to play the body, skating mobility, and superior passing skills, make him an interesting long-term prospect to watch."

With two full seasons of the AHL under his belt, and only a brief 4 game stint in the NHL (2 assists) to show for it, time is running out for the 23-year-old Loov. He will need to push for a place on a crowded Leafs D-corps full of one-way contracts and players fighting for spots. There is every chance that he won’t earn a spot out of training camp because of his eligibility to be sent to the Marlies without passing through waivers. However, he needs to prove to Babcock and company that he’s worthy of consideration and that should a trade or injury arise, Victor Loov’s name needs to be the first name on the call up list. If he stumbles, he may end up joining the endless list of players who never really made it to the NHL.

Loov has all the potential to be a legitimate No.3/4 shutdown defenceman in the NHL, whether that is with the Leafs or not remains to be seen. This isn’t a make or break year for the young Swede, but his rope is quickly running out and he needs to take a step forward in his development this year.