Photo: Defenseman Cody Donaghey is one of five prospects representing the Toronto Maple Leafs in the CHL and USHL. Donaghey was signed as a free agent in September. (courtesy of Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)
The Toronto Maple Leafs have four prospects playing in Canadian junior hockey during the 2014-15 season and one in the USHL. All of the prospects playing at the CHL level are signed to NHL entry-level contracts with the Leafs, and will play in their minor pro system in 2015-16.
Photo: Defenseman Tom Nilsson is one of several prospects who are in their first year with the Toronto Maple Leafs’ minor league organization. (courtesy of Mark Spowart/Icon Sportswire)
Over the last few years, the Toronto Maple Leafs have utilized the NHL Draft to build depth across all positions within their prospect ranks. While the question of how much of an impact that depth will have on the parent club is hard to gauge, the Leafs most recent training camp showed that depth is translating into competition for roster spots at the NHL level.
Photo: Forward Josh Leivo is one of several Toronto Maple Leafs prospects who are expected to take the next step in their development. Leivo was a third round pick in 2011. (courtesy of Abelimages/Getty Images)
The Toronto Maple Leafs have featured a lot of high character, two-way forwards in their prospect pool over the years, but few with pure offensive instinct or elite skill. That is changing with the drafting of high-end talent William Nylander and the progress shown last season from the likes of Josh Leivo, Andreas Johnson, Carter Verhaeghe, and others.
Photo: Center Frederik Gauthier projects as a solid two-way forward with good size. Gauthier was selected 21st overall in the 2013 NHL Draft. (courtesy of Rick Madonik/Toronto Star via Getty Images)
For the Toronto Maple Leafs, there is a silver lining to missing the 2014 NHL playoffs and finishing 23rd overall in the league standings – the potential of selecting an impact player with the eighth overall pick in the 2014 NHL Draft.
Photo: Defenseman Morgan Rielly has experienced a lot of ups and downs in his first NHL season. Rielly has recorded two goals and 18 assists through 54 games with the Maple Leafs. (courtesy of Abelimages/Getty Images)
Outside of Nazem Kadri and the soon-to-graduate Morgan Rielly, the Toronto Maple Leafs have been void of big-name prospects for a few years. Moreover, they have lacked the prospect depth of most other NHL teams, either as a result of trading picks or players not yet meeting their potential.