In some peoples opinion the leafs had a very successful 2015-2016 season, in others the leafs were just awful. Whichever way you look at it, the leafs have some very promising prospects that are continuing to shine.
A few prospects who played in the CHL and had great seasons were first round selection Mitch Marner and fifth round selection Dmytro Timashov. Which even though they are still very young seem to be living up to the hype and maybe even surpassing it so far.
Marner put up 116 points in only 57 games this season and was a plus 45 playing for the London Knights in the OHL. The more impressive part of Marner’s season so far is his playoffs. Marner has 16 goals and 43 points in just 17 games which has him leading the OHL in playoff scoring. His team currently is up 3 games to nothing over the Niagara Ice Dogs in the OHL finals and Marner has been a major part of the Knights success so far. Marner is making it extremely hard for the Maple Leafs to send him back to London next season, but will definitely be fun to watch wherever he is next season.
Dmytro Timashov was taken by the leafs in the 5th round of the 2015 draft and he’s showing signs that he could be a huge gem for the leafs in the future. Timashov started the season out with the Quebec Remparts and after 29 games was traded to the Shawinigan Cataractes. He put up 85 points in 57 games this season and like Marner is having a great showing in playoffs. Timashov has 13 goals and 28 points in just 20 games and his team the Shawinigan Cataractes are currently playing in the QJMHL finals, but down 3 games to 1 against the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies.
The leafs also have large amount of prospects who are currently playing in the AHL playoffs for the Toronto Marlies. Two players who have really impressed me are Connor Brown and Connor Carrick. Both of these players were taken in the later rounds of the 2012 draft, Carrick was taken in the fifth and Brown in the sixth but are looking like they could have gone a lot higher.
Connor Brown really impressed me in the Marlies games that I have watched this season. Brown is a smaller sized forward who plays with a ton of heart and determination, but also is very skilled and has a knack for the net. In this season with the Marlies he was able to put up 29 points in 34 games. He was also given his first shot in the big leagues and didn’t disappoint. In his 7 games with the leafs this season Brown was able to get 6 points. I am expecting that next season Brown will be in the running for a full time roster spot with the leafs next season.
Connor Carrick who was part of the Winnik trade that the Maple Leafs made in late February also impressed me. Since the trade he got a chance to play 16 games with the Maple Leafs where he put up 2 goals and 4 points as a defenseman. He then played 5 regular season games with the Marlies getting 1 goal and 3 points. The thing that has impressed me most so far is his play in the playoffs for the Marlies. He is currently leading the AHL playoffs in points with 4 goals and 12 points in 7 games. I watched game 4 of the series against Albany tonight and was extremely impressed with how confident he was and his ability to quarterback the PP for the Marlies who were on fire tonight. It seems it is a very strong possibility that Carrick will be fighting for a position with the big club next year and may find himself a spot on the team.
As a whole, the leafs organization looks like they are trending in the right direction and the rebuild will take time but the future looks bright for the Maple Leafs.