Brian Burke's first draft as General Manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs featured a variety of picks intended to help implement his somewhat idiosyncratic vision for a franchise in dire need of direction. The Maple Leafs finished the 2008-09 season with 34 wins and 81 points, and had missed the playoffs for the fourth consecutive season.
Following his first season as a pro hockey player, Pittsburgh Penguins defensive prospect Reid McNeill came into the 2013 off-season with the goal of putting himself in as good of a position to succeed as humanly possible. So he took an off-season training route that is increasingly popular among NHL players, namely training with former NHL forward Gary Roberts.
The Toronto Maple Leafs' cupboard is no longer bare, though it is certainly lacking high caliber offensive forwards. In previous years, the Leafs have been known to make rash signings and trades, paying little to no attention to the quality and continuity of their pipeline. They renewed their focus on drafting and development several ago and are only now slowly beginning to reap the benefits.
Below is the middle section Hockey’s Future’s NHL Team Rankings. The teams are ranked in terms of the quality of their overall prospect pool as voted on by the staff of Hockey's Future. For reference, just the top five prospects are listed. To be eligible, a prospect must meet HF's prospect criteria. The rankings are done twice a year, with the second scheduled to be published in the Spring.