Photo: Defenseman Morgan Rielly maintains his spot as the top prospect for the Toronto Maple Leafs. Rielly was selected 5th overall by the Leafs in 2012. (courtesy of Abelimages/Getty Images)
The shortened 2012-13 NHL campaign has seen the Toronto Maple Leafs use a number of developed players throughout the season. Eight players who are 26 years old or younger, have suited up for the Maple Leafs this season – all of them playing vital roles for the Toronto Marlies earlier this season . This is a testament to the process the Maple Leafs have implemented in recent years to develop and promote more prospects.
Photo: Goaltender Andrey Makarov went 15-0 in the month of February. Makarov was signed by the Buffalo Sabres as a free agent in 2012. (Marissa Baecker/Getty Images)
Saskatoon Blades goaltender Andrey Makarov (BUF) is the Hockey's Future Prospect of the Month for February. The undrafted Russian goaltender rocked the WHL last month, posting a 15-0 record, a 1.72 goals-against average, a .948 save percentage, and two shutouts.
Photo: Selected by the Maple Leafs in the second round of the 2008 draft, Jimmy Hayes was traded to the Chicago Blackhawks in 2010. He is currently playing for the Blackhawks AHL affiliate. (courtesy of Warren Wimmer/Icon SMI)
With interim GM Cliff Fletcher at the helm (prior the arrival of Brian Burke) the Toronto Maple Leafs made eight selections at the 2008 NHL-Entry Draft including a coveted top-10 selection.
Photo: Forward Joe Colborne is one of several Toronto Maple Leafs prospects who has NHL experience. (Fred Kfoury/Icon SMI)
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.
Photo: Moose Jaw Warriors defenseman and Toronto Maple Leafs prospect Morgan Rielly and his Team Canada teammates will battle for the bronze medal against familiar protagonist, Russia (courtesy of Imago/Icon SMI)
For Team Canada, anything less than winning the gold medal at the U-20 World Junior Championship is considered a major disappointment. But, for the third consecutive year, Canada is in just that position as they dropped their WJC semi-final game to the USA, 5-1.