The Maple Leafs have slowly assembled a nice stable of prospects under the Pat Quinn regime. Much-maligned for their inability to draft successfully in the past, the Leafs are beginning to see a few of their recent draft picks mature into players who could potentially help the big club in the future. The following details the early season performance of some of these players:
Canadian Hockey League
Kyle WellwoodWindsor Spitfires101113240
Matt StajanBelleville Bulls886148
Brendan BellOttawa 67s827910
Ian WhiteSwift Current Broncos1008812
Dominic D’AmourHull Olympiques901115
NB: David Turon (D) is out until November with a broken clavicle
Todd FordSwift Current Broncos70.9264121.68
Notes: Wellwood is leading the OHL in scoring, highlighted by hat-tricks in consecutive games last week. He was just named OHL player of the week as well. Matt Stajan’s Belleville Bulls are off to a fast start, and individually Stajan is in the top ten in scoring. Brendan Bell’s Ottawa team recently traded top scorer Miguel Delisle to Owen Sound for draft picks. Bell takes over Delisle’s captaincy. Bell is off to a quick start, surely motivated by his chance of make Canada’s world junior entry. Todd Ford is Swift Current’s #1 goalie, and has the stats to back up his position. He is arguably the top goalie in the WHL right now. Ian White, coming off of a surprising 32 goal season last year, has yet to notch his first goal, although he does have 8 assists to his credit and his team is doing surprisingly well.
Notes: Steen’s Frolunda squad are fighting for top spot in the SEL, while Kronwall and Hedin’s squads are stuck in the middle of the pack. Kronwall is the younger brother and teammate of Niklas Kronvall, an SEL star and Detroit prospect. Eliteprospects.com recently ranked Steen #2, Hedin #15 and Kronwall #41 amongst Swedish NHL prospects. St. John’s goaltender Mikael Tellqvist was rated #25.
Alex ShinkarSeverstal Cherepovets70110
Max KondratievLada Togliatta1200014
Notes: Shinkar has not yet earned a full time position on his club, appearing in only 6 out of 10 games. His club is one of the top teams in Russia early in the season, with only one overtime loss to their name. Former Leafs prospect Marcel Cousineau is the back-up goalie for Severstal. Kondratiev has no points, but his team has only scored 17 goals in 10 games. Lada Togliatta is still miraculously in contention.
US College Hockey
The U.S. college season is about to begin, and the Leafs will be keeping there eyes on two of their middle round draft picks. Michael Knoepfli, a sophomore with the Cornell Big Red, is a 6-1 forward from Georgetown, north-west of Toronto. Cornell is a favorite to win the ECAC, but is in tough with the team from Harvard. Scott May is a 5-10 junior who plays for the Ohio State Buckeyes. Ohio State plays in the tough CCHA division, along with perennial powerhouses Michigan, Alaska-Fairbanks and Michigan State. May is expected to provide a lot of the Buckeye’s offense, and will likely play alongside highly-touted Canuck’s prospect R.J. Umberger.