On the Bubble
Petr Svoboda-D-Czech: Svoboda has been hailed as the next Tomas Kaberle because of the possibility of him joining the Leafs in his first trip to North America. Dominant in the Czech Men’s League as a 19 year old, as long as he shows the organization what they are accustomed to seeing, he’ll get his invite.
Something to Prove
Jamie Hodson-G-Brandon (WHL): Injuries have robbed this once promising prospect of his rightful place in the pecking order and with the Leafs drafting two netminders in the third round of this years draft, the clock is definitely ticking. Mikael Tellqvist has recently passed him as the Buds’ puckstopper of the future. This might be his only shot to prove the scouts wrong.
Peter Reynolds-D-North Bay (OHL): A brilliant rookie camp last year was followed up by a very poor season by Reynold’s standards. Although he did start coming around towards the end of the year, he has to show the folks is wasn’t a fluke. With the amount of blueliners in the system the Leafs have, the pressure is on him.
Frantisek Mrazek-F-St. John’s: Although he has been compared to Rangers super prospect Pavel Brendl he blew out an ACL early in his debut season on The Rock and was lost for the year. At 21 years old, the Leafs can afford to be patient with him knowing that power forwards (6’4″, 220 lbs) take longer to develop than most players. That said the Leaf brass have to see that he has lost nothing in the way of speed or range of motion for him not to be downgraded.
Luca Cereda-C-Switzerland: Looked like the real deal two years ago but, after a couple of nagging injuries and off-ice problems, the wheels fell off. Questions were raised about his desire and his discipline. Chances are he’ll end up learning under Brain Kilrea of the Ottawa 67s this year but he needs to work hard every shift and play the system to quite his critics.
Alexei Ponikarovsky-LW-Russia/Mirko Murovic-RW-Moncton-QMJHL: Both of these two have already shown they have the work-ethic and grit essential to being in the NHL. Now both have to start lighting it up. Whichever one develops his offense the quickest will have the inside track.
Needs to make an Impression, Any Impression
Sebastien Centomo-G-Rouyn (QMJHL)
Johnathon Gagnon-C-Drummondville (QMJHL)
Jacques Lariviere-LW-Rimouski (QMJHL)
Ben Ondrus-C-Swift Current (WHL)
Morgan Warren-RW-Moncton (QMJHL)
Happy to be there
Jean_Francois Racine-G-Drummondville (QMJHL)
J.P. Cote-D-Cape Breton (QMJHL)
Allan Rourke-D-Kitchener (OHL)
Lubos Velebny-D-Zvolen Jr (Czech)
Vaclav Zavoral-D-Soo (OHL)
Jon Zion-D-Ottawa (OHL)
Brad Boyes-Erie (OHL)
Miguel Delisle-RW-Ottawa (OHL)
Kris Vernarsky-C-Plymouth (OHL)
Throughout the Rookie Tournament, Randy Nicholson and myself will be keeping you up to date on the rockets, the duds, and all players in between. Stay tuned.