Photo: Now in his first season of professional hockey, defenseman Matt Finn has struggled to adapt to the faster, more physical style in the AHL. Finn was picked in the second round of the 2012 NHL Draft. (courtesy of Mark Spowart/Icon Sportswire)
Toronto Maple Leaf prospects playing for the AHL affiliate Toronto Marlies are undergoing a baptism by fire, and playing to mixed reviews. With a lineup that has iced 22 Maple Leafs prospects during the 2014-15 season, the Marlies’ season has been a roller coaster ride. Over the first 10 games, the Marlies finished with a respectable five wins and five losses. They subsequently went on a nine game losing streak that saw them score only 13 goals in that nine game span. They have begun to right the ship however and have a 7-1-2 record in their last 10 games.
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 Sam Carrick was a big part of the Toronto Marlies postseason success in 2014, posting five goals and four assists in 14 games. (courtesy of John Rivera/Icon SMI)
While the Toronto Maple Leafs may have underachieved by not making the NHL playoffs in 2013-14 season, their AHL affiliate the Toronto Marlies, completed a deep run in the AHL Calder Cup playoffs. In addition, all seven of their CHL prospects made it to their respective league playoffs, including three who went on to play in the 2014 Memorial Cup.
Photo: Forward Carter Verhaeghe is one of several high-scoring junior prospects for the Toronto Maple Leafs. Verhaeghe was selected in the third round of the 2013 NHL Draft. (courtesy of Terry Wilson/OHL Images)
The Toronto Maple Leafs' dynamic duo of Connor Brown and Carter Verhaeghe are taking the OHL by storm this season. The two are among the most offensively gifted prospects in the Maple Leafs system, though both still have ways to go before becoming NHL players.
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.