Back in September, I posted a 39-article series that covered the entirety of the Toronto Maple Leafs prospect pool. The series was a subscribers-only feature at the time of release, due to the significant amount of work that was put into assembling it. Today, the paywall comes off of them and they become free to the public.
Why The Change?
This was planned from the start; the original idea was to unlock them after a certain subscriber/social media follower goal, but in hindsight, a hostage-type scenario was a little shortsighted and silly. While all other subscriber-only series’ will remain permanently behind the paywall, this site is still new and is establishing its foothold in a lot of ways, be it readership or, more importantly for the sake of a content series like this, search engine presence.
So consider this a three-motive decision: One, it gives you some good weekend reading, two, it puts this site onto Google in a much better fashion than it has been so far, and three, it gives you a teaser of what you’ll get as a subscriber perk.
How’s That Going, Anyway?
Decent so far. To quickly settle a misconception: the “subscription” idea was never meant to be a rival to The Athletic or a newspaper. Think of it more like an internally-run Patreon, without the fees and with more automation in the account setup process. You’re supporting the site, you get the odd perk (posts of substance on the weekends, access to very long-form pieces or multi-post series’ beyond this one), but it’s not the business model.
So sign up if that sounds good. Other little things like grabbing a shirt or even disabling your ad blocker and occasionally clicking on something that interests you help as well; and if you’re on the business side, I’m always looking for advertisers. As much as I try to avoid the money shakedowns, all these little bits of income help this site grow, and they help me continue to harvest an income, so keep that in mind. Back to these rankings, though..
How Do They Work?
The original release post describes them in more detail, but in short: There’s 39 of them. Any player under 25 with under 42 NHL games (also known as the ‘Please Include Josh Leivo’ exemption), with their rights held by the Leafs qualifies, is covered by this series. The average post is about 1000 words, and goes over a player’s past, present, and future. Jeremy Davis of Canucks Army was nice enough to hook me up with pGPS data on as many players as possible, so many of these posts have prospect analytics as well.
Shut Up, Give Us The Rankings
If you insist. Click a name to access their profile:
|1||Timothy Liljegren||21||Joseph Woll|
|2||Kasperi Kapanen||22||Rinat Valiev|
|3||Travis Dermott||23||Frederik Gauthier|
|4||Carl Grundstrom||24||Martins Dzierkals|
|5||Adam Brooks||25||Dakota Joshua|
|6||Josh Leivo||26||Nikolai Chebykin|
|7||Jeremy Bracco||27||Kasimir Kaskisuo|
|8||Andreas Johnsson||28||JD Greenway|
|9||Andreas Borgman||29||Ryan McGregor|
|10||Calle Rosen||30||Fedor Gordeev|
|11||Andrew Nielsen||31||Tobias Lindberg|
|12||Kerby Rychel||32||Ian Scott|
|13||Dmytro Timashov||33||JJ Piccinich|
|14||Trevor Moore||34||Vladimir Bobylev|
|15||Eemeli Rasanen||35||Ryan O’Connell|
|16||Garret Sparks||36||Keaton Middleton|
|17||Yegor Korshkov||37||Nolan Vesey|
|18||Jesper Lindgren||38||Vladislav Kara|
|19||Pierre Engvall||39||Nicolas Mattinen|
A Few Notes
Since it’s been a month and I’d prefer to leave my opinions at the time untouched, I’ll add the following bonus thoughts here:
- I ranked Nicolas Mattinen as the lowest-seeded player in the organization. Most of that post was spent feeling really bad about it, but admitting that there was just less upside to be seen from him than for anyone else. Since then, he’s been traded to Flint from London, and put up more points in 12 games than he did in 66 last year. For what it’s worth, I hope this is for real and he proves me wrong long-term. I live for spite tours.
- I suggested that Vladimir Bobylev would likely head to the Orlando Solar Bears, believing that there was no way that they risk him getting buried in a KHL depth chart again. The good news is that they did avoid that. The funny news is that they avoided it by sending him back once he found a new KHL organization (Ufa instead of Spartak Moscow) to play for. We’ll see how that goes for him; he’s pointless in three KHL games and one VHL game so far.
- Tobias Lindberg was the lowest-ranked player with an NHL contract on the team and I suggested that he’d be a trade piece soon enough. He ended up getting shipped to the Golden Knights with a draft pick for Calvin Pickard a few weeks later. Guess I wasn’t far off.
- Much of Frederik Gauthier’s article is about his injury from last season, and how he’s a bit of an unknown prospect again until he starts playing, whenever that might be. He’s been back in the Marlies lineup for a few games now and he looks like he’s still capable, so I might be inclined to bump him up a little bit in a do-over. Not much, though; the upside still isn’t there on him.
- I figured Dmytro Timashov would have more success this year if placed with a veteran centre like Ben Smith. The Marlies tried, that but decided to move Smith back to the wing after opening weekend. However, he’s looked excellent with Chris Mueller, who is cut from a similar cloth.
- The goalie outlooks for this year are obviously all out of date now. Garret Sparks is competing with Calvin Pickard, Kasimir Kaskisuo is working to steal minutes from Chicago’s rotation while he plays on loan with the Wolves.
- Kerby Rychel’s post talks about how Toronto could lose him for nothing via waivers in the “coming days” (at the time). He cleared, he’s been fine with the Marlies, but still not lights out. Either way, I’m shocked a team didn’t take a chance on him; he’s good bottom six winger depth, especially at his age.
- Jeremy Bracco hasn’t particularly looked like a #7-ranked prospect to start the year, nor has 5th-seed Adam Brooks. Both are AHL rookies coming off a Mono-laden summer, though, so I’d be willing to wait things out a bit. Especially because they aren’t being thrust into top-end roles.
- Eemeli Rasanen is third in scoring for Kingston with 11 points in 13 games. No other defenceman on the team has more than four points. He’s looked stellar, and might be the biggest shooter up this list come next summer. Go look at his pGPS cohorts in his profile if you want to hype yourself even further.
- I mentioned in Yegor Korshkov’s profile that his KHL season had started slowly due to his line having some awful, awful puck luck. Good news: he’s catching his groove. Since October 11th, he’s put up eight points in as many games (4G 4A).
- Timothy Liljegren is a Toronto Marlie. He’s recklessly offensive minded, carries the puck like a dream, and for his age at this level, he’s unbelievable. I can’t wait for him to be a regular NHLer. It’s going to be so fun.
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