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: Kitchener Rangers forward Josh Leivo was one of several Toronto Maple Leafs prospects to join that club’s minor-league affiliate at the completion of the junior hockey season (courtesy of Terry Wilson/OHL Images)
Years of building the Toronto Maple Leafs from the ground up started to pay off for the club in the 2012-13 season. The Maple Leafs returned to the playoffs after a nine-year absence to play the Boston Bruins in round one. Toronto took Boston all the way to game seven and looked poised to head into the second round before a third period collapse changed everything. While it was a heartbreaking collapse which led to an overtime loss (and subsequent elimination) it provided a learning experience for a club which lacked playoff experience.
Photo: Goaltender Garret Sparks had a breakout season in 2012-13, posting a 36 wins and 2.65 goals against average. Sparks was drafted by the Toronto Maple Leafs in the seventh round of the 2011 NHL Draft. (courtesy of Terry Wilson/OHL Images)
The following article details the 2012-13 Toronto Maple Leafs Prospect Award winners. Morgan Rielly was the big winner with three awards, while Tony Cameranesi also took home multiple awards. The annual award winners were selected by the author with input from Hockey's Future staff members.
Photo: Belleville Bulls goaltender and Boston Bruins prospect Malcolm Subban has played well in the OHL playoffs after a strong showing in the 2012-13 regular season (courtesy of Terry Wilson/OHL Images)
Picking goaltenders from the junior ranks can be a challenge. The OHL tends to be a league where the dominant netminders are 18 years of age and up, which means that prospecting draft-eligible goalies is an exercise in alchemy combining relationship building, practice viewing, trust, and speculation.
Photo: Oscar Lindberg, shown here representing Sweden at the 2011 World Junior Championships, is off to a hot start with Skelleftea in the Swedish Elite League. (courtesy of Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
Welcome to the December 2012 edition of On the Rush, a monthly column featuring prospects at various competition levels who are either exceeding expectations or falling a little behind. This month’s edition features several players who will represent their country in the 2013 World Junior Championships. We also feature several players who, while posting decent numbers at their respective levels of competition, have fallen short of expectations through the first few months of the 2012-13 season.