The Toronto Maple Leafs pipeline of prospects has been nothing short of miraculous.
The current Toronto Maple Leafs roster is built around four players they drafted and developed into superstars (Morgan Rielly, William Nylander, Mitch Marner and Auston Matthews), and outside of a few other pieces, the vast majority of the rest of the roster is made up from Toronto Marlies graduates.
William Nylander, Pierre Engvall, Frederik Gauthier, Kasperi Kapanen, Andreas Johnson, Trevor Moore, Travis Dermott, Justin Holl, Martin Marincin, Dymtro Timashov, Mason Marchment, Adam Brooks, Pontus Aberg, Michael Hutchinson, Kasmir Kaskisuo and Rasmus Sandin are players who’ve played with both the Leafs and Marlies.
It’s most of the roster.
The organization as a whole – both before and after Kyle Dubas – has been spectacular at finding NHL players.
With all the recent graduates from the AHL, and having gone several years now without a high pick, and making the playoffs three straight times, you’d think the Toronto Maple Leafs prospect pool would be depleted, but it isn’t.
The Leafs have one – maybe as many as three – Grade ‘A’ prospects, and several intriguing players with either a high ceiling or a good shot at making it.
As the team employs a ‘studs and duds’ approach to the salary cap (correctly signing several star players, then filling out the rest of the roster with value players) the team’s ability to develop players will go a long way in determining whether the prime years of the John Tavares/Auston Matthews partnership see a Stanley Cup.
A note about the rankings: I wasn’t too happy with leaving off so many guys from the last one, and so I’ll be grouping together a few players. Guessing how good a prospect will be is a fools game, and we aren’t pretending to know everything.
Therefore, we shade players with high ceilings higher than players who might have a better chance at making it as a fringe player.