Is Jeremy Bracco poised for a breakout season with the Toronto Maple Leafs’ AHL affiliate?
At 21-years-old, Bracco will be entering his second pro season in the Toronto Maple Leafs organization this fall. He quietly asserted himself as a member of the Marlies with 32 points in 50 games as a rookie in 2017-18. Not to mention, posting 12 points in his final 11 games.
Emerging from the shadows of talent that is Toronto’s prospect pool, the aforementioned Bracco is a curious name in the mix for an increased role with the defending Calder Cup Champions.
The departure of prominent forwards such as of Andreas Johnsson, Ben Smith, and Miro Aaltonen, among others, will bode well for his ice-time and continued growth. If all goes well, perhaps the talented youngster will add to his collection which already includes; U-17 WHC Gold Medal, U-18 WJC Gold Medal, WJC Gold Medal, Memorial Cup, and most recently the Calder Cup.
Bracco and his accolades extend to recording the most assists in both the U-17 WHC (8) and U-18 WJC (10). Passing is his strong suit, especially considering that 26 of his 32 points resulted from helpers this past season.
Despite appearing in just four playoff games, Bracco has the intangibles of a point-producer. The return of Andreas Johnsson from the Toronto Maple Leafs and preference of veterans limited his opportunity—but should serve as an indication that talent alone is not enough to earn a spot in this lineup.
Although the AHL does not openly release time-on-ice stats, they do offer shooting percentages. Bracco scored on 8.5% of his shots (71) but failed to record a shot in 13 contests.
His production comes in spurts, underlined by the fact that he failed to record a point in 29/50 of the games he played last season. That means he produced his 32 points in 21 games.
Being a streaky player is wary, however, these simply amount to the growing pains of a young player in his first pro season. This largely has to do with his place in the lineup, considering his performance spiked while in a top-six role.
As I previously mentioned, Bracco owns a sustainable shooting percentage of 8.5% and should be considered a threat to build upon that in addition to his assists total next season.
I’m not saying Josh Ho-Sang is an ideal comparable—but he does provide a small sample as to what a player with similar of similar age and AHL point production has done at the next level. They portray far different play-styles, considering Bracco has excelled as a playmaker rather than a goal-scorer like Ho-Sang.
Jeremy Bracco is paving a unique path in an everchanging landscape.
Similarly, Andreas Johnsson produced at an identical 0.64 PPG clip in his AHL rookie season before exploding for a 1.00 PPG in his sophomore campaign. Moving forward, he is expected to be a prominent fixture at the NHL-level. Will the same be said in Bracco’s case?
Essentially, Bracco deserves to be more than an afterthought heading into his second pro campaign. However, only time will tell.
Although he saw decreased minutes and was even a healthy scratch during the 2018 Calder Cup Playoffs, it just goes to show how deep the Toronto Maple Leafs’ prospect pool truly is. It doesn’t hurt that he shows a bit of personality, either.
stats from theahl.com