Our best prospect has likely played his last junior game, we're down to four remaining Leafs hopefuls in the CHL playoffs, and thus these entries are beginning to wind down for the season. Oh, and we're playing the all-important spectator role in the NHL playoffs once again. But hey, at least we have the draft to look forward to. Um... on to the prospects.
Nazem Kadri, C, London Knights - 1st round, 7th overall in 2009
Kadri had a head scratcher of a playoff. After racking up 25 points in his first 9 games, he managed only two in the final three games as the Knights bowed out to Kitchener in seven games. Despite his weak finish and the fact that we're two and three games into the semi-finals, Kadri still holds a one-point lead on the OHL playoff scoring race. What lies ahead is anyone's guess. Ron Wilson says he'll play with the Leafs next year. Some think he should return to junior. I believe there's nothing left for him in junior, he's learned all he can. He needs some time in the AHL to adjust to the pro game, a la Bozak.
Kenny Ryan, RW, Windsor Spitfires - 2nd round, 50th overall in 2009
Ryan has picked up a couple of goals since we last checked in, sitting with three goals and an assist in 10 games so far. Windsor, after sweeping their first two matchups, find themselves trailing 2-0 to Kitchener in the West semi-final. Ryan should get more time next season, when the Spitfires don't have as much high-end talent to rely on. Speaking of which...
Dale Mitchell, RW, Windsor Spitfires - 3rd round, 74th overall in 2007
Mitchell continues to play a key role for the Spits, putting up 11 points in 10 games so far. He just turned 21, so it comes as a bit of a surprise that he's not producing as well as last year. Nevertheless, the veteran sits tied for third in team scoring.
Now on to the QMJHL...
Joel Champagne, C, Victoriaville Tigres - 5th round, 129th overall in 2008
Champagne has 12 points in as many games this postseason, and it's tough to say that there's any better face-off man in the league than him. He's taken 50 more draws than anyone else in these playoffs, and has held steady at around a 58% rate through much of the season. There's no doubt that this is the kind of guy you send out to win the big ones, and even less doubt that the Leafs need a guy like that in the organization. The Tigres trail 2-0 to Saint John.
Chris DiDomenico, LW, Drummondville Voltigeurs - 6th round, 164th overall in 2007
DiDomenico continues to dazzle in the playoffs, sitting in a tie for second place in Q scoring with 18 points in 10 games. He's not on his ridiculous pace from last season, where he had 35 points in 15 games, but you can't really hold that against the guy. To do what he's done after missing nearly a full year with injury is incredible in itself. Not like he's struggling, either. The Volts are down 1-0 to Moncton in their semi-final series.
So as it stands, our four remaining prospects are trailing in their series. It's hard to imagine that Windsor doesn't mount some sort of a comeback, and possibly Drummondville as well. However, if that doesn't come to fruition, we're looking at a recap for these four guys next week, and nothing to look forward to in the Memorial Cup from a Leafs-fandom perspective. Join me in misery on Twitter.