Maple Leafs 2009-10 NCAA prospects update

By John-Eric Iannicello

The Maple Leafs currently have seven prospects playing in the NCAA — one defenseman, one goalie, and five forwards including reinstated sniper Matt Frattin

Jerry D’Amigo, RW – Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI)
5’10, 196lbs
Acquired: 6th round, 158th overall in 2009

Likely the most popular Maple Leaf prospect at the moment is clutch World Junior forward Jerry D’Amigo. D’Amigo, an 18-year-old freshman at RPI, has had a very strong season. He sits third in team scoring with six goals, 11 assists and 17 points in 20 games. He plays in a top-six role on a line with fellow freshman standout Brandon Pirri (CHI), and while Pirri leads the two in points with 26, it is arguably D’Amigo who has had the more prominent impact. D’Amigo’s knack for clutch performances has also been on display for RPI as half of his six goals have been game winners.

D’Amigo also helped Team USA capture gold over Canada at the World Junior tournament with six goals, and six assists in seven games.

, LW – University of Michigan
6’0, 173lbs
Acquired: 4th round, 104th overall in 2007
Ben Winnett

In his third season with Michigan, 20-year-old Winnett hasn’t taken the offensive jump many have hoped he would, but he has been a solid role player for the deep Wolverine roster. While he’s been unable to find his niche offensively, he’s settled in very well as a checking forward for Michigan, using his speed to his advantage.

In 23 games this season, Winnett has recorded four goals, and five assists for nine points. His offensive production has been hot lately, recording four assists in his last three games.

Tyler Ruegsegger, RW – University of Denver
6’0, 185lbs
Acquired: 6th round, 166th overall in 2006

In his final season with Denver, Ruegsegger is poised to have a career season. The 22-year-old is second on the team in scoring with 27 points, leads the team in assists with 16 and is a +12. Ruegsegger’s contributions to the team also go beyond his strong point totals; he’s an assistant captain and is a pillar of leadership for the Pioneers. He’s a hard worker both on and off the ice and an invaluable component to the success of his team. He prides his game on his effort and can be a threat in all areas of the ice.

At this rate, Ruegsegger should anticipate an NHL contract at season’s end.

Jimmy Hayes, RW – Boston College
6’5, 210lbs
Acquired: 2nd round, 60th overall in 2008

The budding power forward is in his second season with Boston College and there have been signs of improvement in his overall game. In 20 games this year, 20-year-old Hayes has already surpassed last season’s point total of 13 with 15 this year. He’s scored five goals and added 10 assists for the Eagles. 

Hayes has taken positive steps in rounding his game both offensively and defensively. He’s added strength to his frame which has enabled him to be more effective when controlling the puck and wearing down opposition defenders. 

Matt Frattin, RW – University of North Dakota
6’0, 200lbs
Acquired: 4th round, 99th overall in 2007

After an incident in the summer that led to Frattin’s dismissal from North Dakota, Frattin was reinstated for the Shillelagh Tournament Jan. 2-3. While he has missed approximately 20 games this season, in the six games that the 22-year-old has played in he’s been impressive — not seeming to feel the ill effects of a long layoff.

Frattin has recorded two assists already. As a third-year forward, the Fighting Sioux will rely heavily on Frattin’s ability to produce timely goals. 

Andrew MacWilliam, D – University of North Dakota
6’2, 214lbs
Acquired: 7th round, 188th overall in 2008

A teammate of Frattin is hard-nosed Andrew MacWilliam. MacWilliam is a 19-year-old freshman for the Fighting Sioux who has appeared in all 24 games this season. Lately he’s been playing on the top pairing with sophomore Ben Blood (OTT), and recorded two assists, 38 penalty minutes and a +7.

Hockey’s Future asked Blood if he was showing MacWilliam the ropes.

"No, not at all," Blood said. "I think he’s doing fine, he’s figuring it out on his own. We both have each other’s backs out there. We pick each other up if we have a bad shift or whatever, but no, I’m not taking him under my wing or anything, he knows how to play. He’s a good player."

At his best, MacWilliam is competitive defensive-defenseman, and bases his game around a strong physical style in which he keeps opposing forwards honest. So far this season, MacWilliam has been that player for North Dakota. His early success is a good sign for MacWilliam’s future in the NCAA.

Grant Rollheiser, G – Boston University
6’4, 195lbs
Acquired: 6th round, 158th overall in 2008

Rollheiser, for a second season, has been unable to steal away the starting position from teammate Kieran Millan (COL). That being said, the starting position could easily be stolen away given the team’s position in the standings. Rollheiser is coming off a 39-save performance on January 16th that should catch the eye of the coaching staff. Rollhesier has seen action in five games this season with a 3.25 GAA, .881 save percentage and a 2-0-3 record.

Rollheiser is still coming into his own at the NCAA level, trying to find his comfort level as he sees spot duty behind Millan at the moment.

 Holly Gunning contributed to this article.