11. Ian White – D (18, 5-10/170)
Acquired: 6th Round, 191st Overall in the 2002 NHL Entry Draft
Swift Current Broncos (WHL): 40GP, 12G, 26A, 38Pts, 32PIM
Canada (WJC): 6GP, 2G, 4A, 6Pts, 0PIM
Steve’s Take: If third assists were awarded, White would have challenged Colaiacovo for the tournament scoring title. White has a feared shot, huge offensive upside, great sense, is a crisp passer, and is great in transition.
Areas to Improve: Defense… looked good at the juniors in his own zone, but against the veterans he may have this weakness exposed more often. Size and toughness will never be part of his game… but luckily the NHL is making itself more and more favourable for the smaller player.
Doug’s Take: Played a huge role in Halifax for Canada, pairing with Carlo Colaiacovo to form a tremendously productive power play tandem at the point. Shows tremendous poise and patience with the puck and makes intelligent and creative passes. Has a good shot. White scored a remarkable 32 goals for Swift Current last season. However, White needs to improve his speed and his strength. White is undersized by NHL standards and will have to get stronger and faster to cover pro forwards. He was beaten outside on a few occasions by the skilled Russian forwards in the Gold Medal game in Halifax; this is something that must be improved upon for White to make a mark in the pros. White is one of only two players (Marc-Andre Fleury is the other) eligible to play for Canada at next year’s WJC.
Projection: Potential PP Specialist
12. Brendan Bell – D (19, 6-1/207)
Acquired: 3rd Round, 88th Overall in the 2001 NHL Entry Draft
Ottawa 67s (OHL): 32GP, 10G, 20A, 30Pts, 32PIM
Canada (WJC): 6GP, 1G, 1A, 2Pts, 6PIM
Doug’s Take: Bell is an offensive defenseman who has significantly improved his defensive game. Captain of the top ranked Ottawa 67s, Brendan has a big fan in hockey icon Brian Kilrea. Excellent break-out passer, he has the quickness and smarts to join the rush. Bell is an excellent power play quarterback. Consistently get low, hard shots on the net. He paired with Steve Eminger to form one of Canada’s most reliable defensive pairs at the WJC. Bell must continue his recent rate of improvement, and improve his decision making; he sometimes tries to hard to hit home runs rather then making the simple play.
Steve’s Take: Bell is impressing in his critical year in the OHL. His strengths are his skating and defensive awareness. Bell can provide an offensive spark from the blue line.
Areas to Improve: Offense may not translate into the pros quite as well as it needs to for him to be a power play quarterback, defense is solid but needs a little more work and toughness to become a solid penalty killer. Hence the 4th defenseman role may translate into only second unit duties in the specialty teams.
Projection: 4/5 D-man down the road. Leafs must sign him by June 1st, or he is eligible to re-enter the draft.
13. Todd Ford – G (18, 6-4/180)
Acquired: 3rd Round, 85th Overall in the 2002 NHL Entry Draft
Swift Current Broncos (WHL): 24GP, 12W, 7L, 3T, 2.61GAA, 0.901%
Prince George Cougars (WHL): 3GP, 0W, 2L, 1T, 4.54GAA, 0.889%
Steve’s Take: Can you ever have too many good goalies? The Leafs first draft with Barry Trapp showed great mid round picks, White and Ford are team mates and both having career years. Need more reason check out the improvement in Ford’s numbers this year. The key to a good prospect is to show marked improvement. Ford was ranked 2nd amongst North American goalies by the Central Scouting Bureau. Ford is a great butterfly goalie, covers a lot of the net, quick reflexes and recovery, strong positioning, controls rebounds and challenges shooters. Ford could improve his stickhandling.
Doug’s Take: Leafs traded into the 3rd round of the 2002 Draft to take this tall, lanky goalie from Calgary. Had a solid camp in Hamilton with the Leafs, where he impressed many with his work ethic and coachability. His height is his major advantage. Good side to side agility. Ford just needs to work on getting playing time. Ford lost the starting job in Swift Current to 20-year-old Jeff Harvey and was sent to the woeful Prince George Cougars, where he will have to fight for minutes with 20-year-old Ottawa prospect Billy Thompson, who the Cougars were unable to move at the WHL trade deadline. Ford just needs playing time and shots.
Projection: A number one goalie in the NHL, a poor man’s Sean Burke, more agile but less skilled. It would be nice to see him challenge for a spot on next year’s Canadian junior squad.
14. Maxim Kondratiev –D (19, 6-1/180)
Acquired: 6th Round, 168th Overall in the 2001 NHL Entry Draft
Lada Togliatta (RUS): 27GP, 0G, 1A, 1Pt, 26PIM
Russia (WJC): 6GP, 0G, 1A, 1Pts, 14PIM
Steve’s Take: Kondratiev has had two impressive WJC appearances, where he has shown himself to be a physical, punishing player. However, his skating is weak, and that usually ends a prospect’s chances of making it in the NHL.
Doug’s Take: Kondratiev was a solid contributer to an excellent group of defensemen for the world junior champion Russia squad. He moves the puck competently and has good size. He has played regularly in the Russian elite league for Lada at only 19. Plays well along the boards and is strong positionally. It would be nice to see more offense from Max, since he seems to have the abilities to put up points.
Projection: Like Markus Seikola and Pierre Hedin, the Leafs will be content to let him develop overseas. Could be a 4/5 defenseman in the Dmitri Yushkevich mould down the road.
15. Nathan Barrett – C (21, 6-0/189)
Acquired: Signed as a F.A. by Toronto in July 2002
St. John’s Maple Leafs (AHL): 41GP, 7G, 13A, 20Pts, 25PIM
Doug’s Take: Former Vancouver prospect and WHL scoring champion (2001-02) signed as a free agent over the summer. Director of Player Personnel Mike Penny is familiar with this scoring wizard, who failed to come to terms with the Canucks. Has shown early in his pro career that he can still fill the nets. Stocky skater has deceptive speed and is money in the bank when he gets in alone on the goalie. Barrett’s defensive coverage needs major work. As well, Barrett needs to upgrade his skating and strength if he wants to make it to the NHL.
Kevin’s Take: Barrett came into St. John’s as the WHL’s defending scoring champ and has parlayed that offensive skill into becoming one of the team’s top rookies. Barrett has lots of desire and is a solid, two-way player that can only get better as time goes on.
Projection: Hard to say. Barrett has major league offensive abilities, but must upgrade in several areas to make it to the NHL.
16. Chris Chartier – D (22, 6-0/219)
Acquired: Signed as F.A. with Toronto in 2001
St. John’s Maple Leafs (AHL): 34GP, 3G, 5A, 8Pts, 26PIM
Doug’s Take: A former top D-man in the WHL (2000-01), Chartier is in his second year on the Rock. Battling injuries this year, Chartier provides a solid powerplay presence when healthy. Chartier excels in the transition game with excellent skating and passing abilities. Chartier must find a way to stay healthy for an extended period of time. Chartier is exactly the kind of defenseman the Baby Leafs desperately need right now. He also needs to get playing so he can continue his development.
Kevin’s Take: Chartier was expected to be one of the leaders of the Baby Leafs’ defense this season, but that hasn’t materialized. Injuries and somewhat lackluster play has made for a disappointing season thus far. Chartier has an excellent shot, however, and is a key to the Baby Leafs’ powerplay.
Projection: Hard to see him playing in a 4/5/6 spot in the NHL due to his style of play. Must improve dramatically to play a Tomas Kaberle-type role in the big leagues, for which he seems best-suited.
17. Ivan Kolozvary – LW (18, 6-0/169)
Acquired: 7th Round, 198th Overall in the 2001 NHL Entry Draft
Dukla Trencin (SLK): 33GP, 2G, 9A, 11Pts, 14PIM
Slovakia (WJC): 6GP, 1G, 2A, 3Pts, 0PIM
Steve’s Take: Opened many eyes at the juniors in the scouting circles. While I honestly have not seen him play, and only have what I have heard to go by… gritty, skilled, goes hard to the net.
Areas to Improve: Offense is starting to come around as he showed at the juniors but he needs to show something more offensively and needs to become much more defensively responsible.
Doug’s Take: A skinny speedster with good hands, Kolozvary did not get too many opportunities to show what he had playing for a woeful Slovakian side at the WJC. Looked a lot better then most of the other Slovakian juniors in the two games I saw, but that really isn’t saying that much. Seems to have a feel for where to go on the ice but scouts say his shot does not spread fear in the hearts of goaltenders.
Projection: Kolozvary has a long way to go before the Leafs bring him across the pond. The Leafs will hope Kolozvary develops playing in Robert Svehla’s Dukla Trencin organization, where he is starting to assert himself offensively.
18. Markus Seikola – D (20, 6-1/198)
Acquired: 7th Round, 209th Overall in the 2000 NHL Entry Draft
TPS (FIN): 41GP, 3G, 4A, 7Pts, 22 PIM
Doug’s Take: The Finnish defenseman has had a quiet season. He has good size and skating ability. Seikola is rare in that he is willing to play a physical style in the Finnish elite league. Like fellow prospect Pierre Hedin, the Leafs have been content to let Seikola develop overseas (perhaps regretting rushing Czech defenseman Petr Svoboda a few years earlier). It would be nice to see Seikola put up bigger offensive numbers, since he seemingly has all the skills to do so. Seikola has been paired with a rookie defenseman this season with TPS, which hasn’t helped his numbers any. Seikola had a quiet Spengler Cup tournament.
Projection: #4/5 D-man in 2/3 years. The Leafs will continue to let Siekola develop in Finland; which is quickly becoming regarded as the best developmental league overseas.
19. Regan Kelly –D (21, 6-2/210)
Acquired: Trade with Philadelphia in 2001
St. John’s Maple Leafs (AHL): 40GP, 3G, 9A, 12Pts, 26PIM
Kevin’s Take: Kelly has been a pleasant surprise for the Blue and White. When he gets the chance to play, the young rearguard has played extremely well, especially over the last ten games. Not afraid to hit and sacrifice his body to get the job done.
Doug’s Take: The Leafs acquired the big collegian from the Philadelphia Flyers two seasons ago for Chris McAllister. Kelly has good size and skating ability, and is starting to chip in offensively in his first season of pro hockey. Has been mentioned by GM Pat Quinn as a possible injury replacement in Toronto, an honor not yet bestowed upon fellow prospects Jay Harrison and Chris Chartier. Kelly is well suited to the pro game, and just needs time to develop.
Projection: 6/7 defenseman.
20. David Turon – D (19, 6-2/200)
Acquired: 4th Round, 122nd Overall in the 2002 NHL Entry Draft
Portland Winterhawks (WHL): 10G, 1G, 2A, 3Pts, 12PIM
Czech Republic (WJC): 6GP, 1G, 0A, 1Pts, 10PIM
Doug’s Take: The big defenseman made an impression with the Czech WJC team after sitting out most of the season with a broken collarbone sustained at the Maple Leafs training camp. Looked real good at the Leafs main camp in September, where he displayed good mobility and an excellent shot. Showed a mean streak in Halifax, although took too many minor penalties in key games for my liking. Turon needs to get acclimatized to the North American game. This is his first and only season of junior hockey (with the Portland Winterhawks), and he has only gotten into 10 games so far.
Steve’s Take: Toughness is always needed, and Turon has some skill hidden DEEP beneath the toughness.
Projection: Could be a 4/5 defenseman in the NHL if everything works out in his favor.
Scott May – C (21, 5-10/198)
Acquired: 7th Round, 222th Overall in the 2002 NHL Entry Draft
Ohio State Buckeyes (ECAC): 23GP, 7G, 21A, 28Pts
Steve’s Take: May is putting up career numbers this year, but college hockey numbers often look nice. May’s strengths are his speed, skating, and puckhandling abilities.
Areas to Improve: Offense not yet proven at pro level, defense needs tweaking, not very physical.
Doug’s Take: May was an overage pick by the Leafs in last year’s draft. He is putting up real good numbers in U.S. College hockey this year for a top-ranked Ohio State team. May is in his junior year, and will have to continue to show the Leafs’ brass that he can put points on the board and that his skating is good enough to overcome his size issues before he graduates.
Projection: May has the potential and upside to be a third line winger in the mould of a Travis Green. Odds are probably 50/50 that the Leafs try to get May’s name on a contract.
Jean-Francois Racine – G (20, 6-3/197)
Acquired: 4th Round, 120th Overall in the 2000 NHL Entry Draft
Memphis Riverkings (CHL): 25GP, 17W, 5L, 2OTL, 2.66GAA, 0.912%
Doug’s Take: Last year, Sebastien Centomo stole the show in Memphis, and this year it’s Racine’s turn. He has back-stopped the team to the top of the standings, and has numbers that compare with any other goalie in the Colonial Hockey League. Racine’s biggest problem is going to be moving up within the Toronto system, because he is behind Tellqvist, Centomo and Hodson right now, and Todd Ford is not that far away from turning pro. His play has earned him a shot in the AHL, but it may be hard for the Leafs to find a place for him to play.
Steve’s Take: Racine is yet another good goalie prospect having another good season. He is consistently solid, agile, and is a solid stick handler. Racine needs to limit rebounds and improve on his reaction time.
Projection: Backup on a weak team in the NHL, but maybe a career AHLer.
Nicolas Corbeil – C (19, 5-11/177)
Acquired: 3rd Round, 88th Overall in the 2001 NHL Entry Draft
Sherbrooke Castors (QMJHL): 46GP, 21G, 32A, 53Pts, 46PIM
Steve’s Take: Corbeil is skilled but not flashy. His strengths include his speed, skating, playmaking, and stickhandling. He has a good shot. Corbeil must improve his defense, physical play, and his strength on the boards.
Doug’s Take: Corbeil is a small, skilled forward who has a bit of feistiness to him. He is putting up real good numbers this year, but not getting invited to the selection camp for Canada’s WJC team after attending the summer evaluation camp was disappointing.
Projection: The Leafs have to get Corbeil’s name on a contract before June 1st, or relinquish his rights. With players such as Brad Boyes, Alex Steen, Nathan Barrett, Luca Cereda, Kyle Wellwood and Matt Stajan all around the same age and ahead of him on the depth chart, his chances don’t look good. However, he should be able to make a name for himself in the AHL with another club.
Jamie Hodson – G (22, 6-2/198)
Acquired: 3rd Round, 69th Overall in the 1998 NHL Entry Draft
Greensboro Generals (ECHL): 14GP, 9W, 4L, 1T, 2.43GAA, 0.938%
St. John’s Maple Leafs (AHL): 3GP, 0W, 1L, 0T, 3.10GAA, 0.884%
Doug’s Take: The ‘Eminem’ look-alike looked real sharp at the Leafs’ training camp in Hamilton. The former high draft pick has had numerous knee problems in his short career, but seems to have put those behind him as of late. Hodson has played real well in the ECHL with Greensboro behind former NHLer Dan Berthiume, where he leads the league in save percentage and is second in GAA. Season highlights include two call-ups to St. John’s, an appearance with Canada at the Spengler Cup, and his current recall to Toronto. Hodson has to stay healthy for more then one season. He looks like he’s finally getting back on track after his numerous operations.
Projections: AHL Starter
Other players that fell just short of making these lists, but did warrant attention from our writing staff include Swedish defenseman Staffan Kronwall, Finnish forward Jarkko Immonen and Hull defenseman Dominic D’Amour. Of note, the writers omitted Brad Leeb from consideration since he will shortly be reaching the graduated prospect criteria of 240 AHL games. As well, Slovakian goaltender Jan Chovan was not considered since the Maple Leafs organization has frequently omitted his name when discussing their prospects. We have taken this as a sign that he will not be signed by the June 1st deadline, and has no future within the organization.
We hope that you have enjoyed our thoughts on the many Leaf prospects within the organization. Look for the next update of the Top Prospects List after the Memorial Cup tournament in May when all the player’s seasons have wrapped up. Please feel free to discuss this list and anything else concerning the Maple Leafs prospects on the message board. Thanks for reading!