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.
After years of sacrificing high draft picks for quick fix solutions, which eventually led to a lack of depth in their minor league system, the Toronto Maple Leafs have turned a corner in the quality and depth of their player development pipeline. That youth injection is getting stronger with prospects Matt Finn, Connor Brown, and Antoine Bibeau potentially joining the Leafs’ minor league affiliates for the 2014-15 season. Other prospects, such as Andreas Johnson and Carter Verhaeghe, will look to build on their solid performances in 2014-15.
The Toronto Maple Leafs have featured a lot of high character, two-way forwards in their prospect pool over the years, but few with pure offensive instinct or elite skill. That is changing with the drafting of high-end talent William Nylander and the progress shown last season from the likes of Josh Leivo, Andreas Johnson, Carter Verhaeghe, and others.
Outside of Nazem Kadri and the soon-to-graduate Morgan Rielly, the Toronto Maple Leafs have been void of big-name prospects for a few years. Moreover, they have lacked the prospect depth of most other NHL teams, either as a result of trading picks or players not yet meeting their potential.