Photo: Forward Spencer Abbott has been a standout for the Toronto Marlies, the AHL affiliate of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Abbott is in his second full season of professional hockey. (courtesy of Abelimages/Getty Images)
The Toronto Maple Leafs strong start can be attributed to the depth they have accumulated over previous seasons. Under general manager Dave Nonis, the Maple Leafs continue to foster the development of their youth in hopes they will one day become NHL players.
Photo: Forward Frederik Gauthier was the first selection the Maple Leafs made in the 2013 NHL Draft. Gauthier is a big-bodied forward who plays a good two-way game. (courtesy of Chris So/Toronto Star via Getty Images)
Slow and steady development remains the course of action for the Toronto Maple Leafs entering the 2013-14 season. With a patient approach to their draft picks over the last few seasons, the club is now in a large transition phase at the AHL level.
Photo: Stuart Percy is one of several prominent defensive prospects the Maple Leafs have at the CHL level. (Terry Wilson/OHL Images)
The Toronto Maple Leafs junior prospects feature a handful of the organizations top young talent such as Tyler Biggs, Matt Finn, Morgan Rielly, and Stuart Percy. In total the Maple Leafs have eight prospects playing in the Ontario Hockey League, and only two in Rielly (WHL) and Dominic Toninato (USHL) playing in other North American junior leagues. The Maple Leafs have three prospects from the junior level heading to World Junior camps this December.
Photo: Carter Ashton is just one of a handful of young forwards the Maple Leafs have acquired over the past two years. (Jeanine Leech/Icon SMI)
The additions of defensemen Morgan Rielly and Matt Finn at the 2012 NHL Draft have bolstered what was once a weak point in the Toronto Maple Leafs’ system. They are added to a list of names such as Korbinian Holzer, Jesse Blacker, Stuart Percy, and Petter Granberg that are in the fold currently. Each player offers a different dynamic that should complement the team’s defensive core if they continue to progress in their development.
Photo: Defenseman Korbinian Holzer is one of several NHL-ready Toronto prospects who was forced to play in the AHL this season due to the NHL lockout. (Bill Streicher/Icon SMI)
The improved prospect depth in the Toronto Maple Leafs system should start to bear fruit through the 2012-13 season, as many prospects make their pro debuts with the Toronto Marlies (AHL). Focus, however, will continue on prospects at the pro level such as Nazem Kadri and Joe Colborne. There is also great interest in 2012 draft pick Morgan Rielly, and what he can do over a full season.