Morgan Rielly big winner in Toronto Maple Leafs prospect awards

By John-Eric Iannicello

Garret Sparks - Toronto Maple Leafs

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.

Most Improved: Garret Sparks, G, Guelph Storm (OHL)

A seventh-round pick from the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, Garret Sparks has developed much more consistency in his game this past season. After a slow start where he posted a 3.74 goals against average and .895 save percentage in September, then a 3.78 goals against average and .898 save percentage in October, Sparks was very consistent the remaining five months of the season. His best month came in January where Sparks had boasted an impressive 7-1 record. He had two shutouts during that month and posted a 1.62 goal against average and .940 percentage. He has improved his numbers across the board with a career high 60 games played this season. Among his peers, Sparks was ranked seventh in goals against (2.65), fifth in save percentage (.917), first in minutes played (3440), and he was also tied for first with 36 wins.

Best Defensive Prospect: Morgan Rielly, D, Moosejaw Warriors (WHL)

At this point, it is fairly easily to say that Morgan Rielly is a prospect that stands alone in the Maple Leafs system. Not only is he the team's best defensive prospect, he is their best prospect overall. Rielly has an elite offensive game with high end hockey-IQ that should aid in his transition next season as he pushes for a roster spot. His skills have been on display at times with the Marlies, who he joined at the end of his WHL season. While he has not put up jaw dropping numbers, he earned himself a spot on the team's playoff roster. With the Maple Leafs push for patience over the years, there's a strong possibility Rielly finds himself back with Moosejaw in 2013-14. Should he return to major junior hockey next season, he will be one of the top players in his position at the CHL level.

Prospect of the Year: Morgan Rielly, D, Moosejaw Warriors (WHL)

Rielly season this year is defined more by his individual success rather than how his team performed. His Moosejaw Club finished 10th in the WHL's Easter Conference, but Rielly was able to amass an impressive season after missing the majority of his previous year. Rielly finished in the top five for defensive scoring with 12 goals and 42 assists for 54 points in 60 games. He also won the Bill Hunter Memorial Trophy as the Eastern Conferences WHL Defenseman of the Year.

Fastest Skater: Morgan Rielly, D, Moosejaw Warriors (WHL)

Fighting off competition from the likes of Jesse Blacker, Jerry D'Amigo, and Tony Cameranesi, Morgan Rielly takes home his third award as the fastest skater in the Maple Leafs system. Rielly is gifted with great speed complemented by his agility and smooth stride. He is as quick with the puck as he is without it thanks to his ability to make high-end plays at full speed.

Hardest Shot: Tyler Biggs, Oshawa Generals (OHL)

Without many big name shooter types in the Maple Leafs system since the departure of Matt Frattin from the prospect list, Tyler Biggs wins for prospect with the Hardest Shot. While he does not necessarily use his big shot as effectively as one would hope, he still gets a ton of power behind it thanks to his mature frame. At the end of the seasons coaching poll, Biggs received twelve votes, finishing third in the OHL Easter Conference Coaches Poll for Hardest Shot.

Overachiever: Tony Cameranesi, C, Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs (WCHA)

After a fairly ordinary season in the USHL with the Waterloo Blackhawks where Cameranesi scored 42 points in 55 games, not many were expecting the type of offensive impact Cameranesi has had so early in his season. Cameranesi finished his 38 game freshman season at Minnesota-Duluth with 14 goals and 20 assists for 34 points. He also won the ho