FanPost

Community Top 25 under 25: #16-20

Hey guys, welcome to post two of the Community Top 25 under 25. The votes were casted by all of you, have been compiled by BCapp, and are being posted on by myself, BCapp, and nhlcheapshot, where we'll post some compiled commentary, scouting reports, and stats, and of course nhlcheapshot ill have some charts. These posts aren't intended to underscore the main posts of PPP, but should be used as a complement, and demonstrate the value some other leafs fans put on their prospects. If you want to review the official rules for this series, you can find them in BCapp's original post.

So far within our top 25 under 25, we've gone through numbers 25-21. Here's a quick breakdown:

#

Name

Age

Drafted

Round

Pos.

Last Season’s League

25

Sam Carrick

20

2010

5

C

Ontario Hockey League

24

Petter Granberg

20

2010

4

D

Swedish Elite League

23

Nicolas Deschamps

22

2008

2

C

American Hockey League

22

Garret Sparks

19

2011

7

G

Ontario Hockey League

21

Spencer Abbot

24

N/A

N/A

C

NCAA Men’s Division I

Each of the following 5 sections will describe a prospect. They will outline how the community voted on the placement of the prospect, and then go into the prospects details which will help describe the rationale. I will then provide some personal commentary/insight/opinion on the player, outline their NHL comparables, and contextualize their place on this list. Its hard and probably misleading to compare prospects to current or past NHLers, but I feel its a useful tool to describe the type of game a player plays. The best place any prospect can land is the NHL. While there is a low success rate across all prospects, when players are drafted, especially in the 1st and 2nd rounds, as well as when they are signed as undrafted free agents, the hope is that they eventually play in the show.


20. Josh Leivo

20leivo_medium

Josh Leivo is a 1993 born winger playing for Sudbury in the OHL. He projects as a two-way winger which would float between the second and third lines on any given team. He was drafted in the third round of 2011.

Joshua Leivo
Left Wing
Born May 26 1993  -- Innisfil, ONT 
Height 6.02 -- Weight 180 -- Shoots R

                                            --- Regular Season ---  ---- Playoffs ----
Season   Team                        Lge    GP    G    A  Pts  PIM  GP   G   A Pts PIM
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
2010-11  Sudbury Wolves              OHL    64   13   17   30   37   8   6   7  13   4
2011-12  Toronto Marlies             AHL     1    0    0    0    0  --  --  --  --  --
2011-12  Sudbury Wolves              OHL    66   32   41   73   61   4   2   1   3   6
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

During the 2011 draft, Brian Burke gave the following quote on his drafted philosophy, and how that philosophy led to the selection of Leivo:

We don't always get it right but our big focus is on character. Every team says that, but it's part of our DNA. We're looking for players that are going to get better, that work hard, that are coachable, guys who handle adversity well. We try to identify through our interview and through using our psychologist people with character.

Josh Leivo is the perfect example of the leafs drafting strategy once Brian Burke came in. Perhaps with the exception of Tyler Biggs, the leafs have been taking higher risk picks that have the potential to be better in the long run. Using age to their advantage, the leafs have been selecting an abundance of players with later birthdays. Players with late birthdays are playing against and being compared to people that are sometimes 8 months older than themselves. This isn't a big deal in the pros, but in junior, at the age of puberty and development, 8 months can make the difference of a year of hockey and a, 8 inches in height, and 30lbs. Leivo was one of the first of these selections, and it appears to have panned out. As players age, it is expected that they increase their point production (because they are playing against less older players and more younger players). Leivo not only has the advantage of this, but has an extra year of development that many of his peers may have taken 6-8 months ago. His sophomore seasons in the OHL saw a rise of production from 0.47ppg to 1.11ppg, or more than double. This is an extraordinary jump, and if he can increase his output yet again the leafs will have consecutive third round steal.

Leivo has been a scorer at every level, but can also boast defensive responsibility to some extent. He doesn't score off the rush, but rather uses a combination of skill and mental awareness, as well as a degree of physicality to drive forward the right play. As an NHLer, at his best he would see himself in the shoes of Justin Williams, Kris Versteeg, or David Perron, and at his worst would act as Tyler Kennedy or even Tim Brent. Hopefully he ends up somewhere in the middle, like Matthew Lombardi.

Largely a result of his poor freshman year and his later and recent selection, Leivo received a few votes in the late 20s. He also doesn't have one dominating skill-set which would allow him to hash out a guaranteed role in the NHL going forward. Yet because of his strong mental game and recent surge it appears he may have future potential. What's most likely is he spends a few seasons as a good AHL player or even breaks into the NHL in a Joey Crabb role, but being so young, he'll hopefully spend a few years on our top 25 list and gradually improve. His youth, however, lands him in 20th.


19. Tyler Biggs

19biggs_medium

Tyler Biggs is a prototypical low-risk low-reward pick. He grew up in the the Toronto Hockey League and moved to the states, where he was born, for the National Development team and College. He's won three gold medals in three attempts, including an U17 and U18 world junior in the same year. He was drafted in the first round of 2011 after combining two early second round picks to move up to 25th overall. He models his game after Dustin Brown and Jarome Iginla, so he definitely strives to fit the power-forward model.

Tyler Biggs
Right Wing
Born Apr 30 1993  -- Cincinnati, OH 
Height 6.02 -- Weight 200
--- Regular Season --- ---- Playoffs ---- Season Team Lge GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 2008-09 Toronto Jr. Canadiens OJHL 3 0 0 0 2 2009-10 U.S. National Under-17 Te USHL 20 5 4 9 49 -- -- -- -- -- 2009-10 U.S. National Under-18 Te USHL 4 1 1 2 5 -- -- -- -- -- 2010-11 U.S. National Development USHL 20 7 4 11 41 -- -- -- -- -- 2011-12 Miami University (Ohio) CCHA 37 9 8 17 63 --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

This is a quote from one of his coaches on how he play, particularly his ability to make room:

He's a big, strong kid and is an extreme character player. He skates well and is physical and tough. He shoots and attacks the net well with or without the puck. He's certainly someone on our team who's a physical presence, and he makes room for a lot of our skilled players.

I like the selection of Tyler Biggs. Its almost to the point of cliche where Burke is after a power-forward, but they're an integral part of the game. Especially with the decline of the good (thank goodness) people are looking to integrate their truculent players with their skill players. There is question on the degree of skill Biggs has, and his selection over some other skilled players, but there is a safety to the Biggs pick. If Biggs can play in the NHL, its a good pick, and it seems to me that he has as good a shot as anyone on making it, especially considering he is already the size of many players there. Reviewing his pre-draft history also shows that he used to be more of a scorer, with offensive finished, but after unanimous selection for captain of his team (which demonstrates his leadership abilities), he focused more on his physical play, leadership, etc.

One thing that needs to be remembered is that while he his big, and has been for a couple years, this size is still new for him. Lean, skill players like Ennis, Grioux, etc. can hop into the NHL early on because they've been playing the same style for their whole life and just need to adjust to the speed of their new league. Players that rely on physicality to succeed need more adjustment time, first to get used to their bodies, and second to get used to everyone else being large as well. I think there needs to be patience for Biggs. While he might not be the most 'skilled' player right now, once he's figured out everything else I don't think its unquestionable for him to re-develop that aspect.

Because of the lack of clear direction on how he will pan out, though, its tough to pinpoint appropriate comparables. Of course this is true for every player but at least with someone like Josh Leivo, he's demonstrated the ability to produce significant points. This rings true for our future prospects as well (higher ranked players). These players never carry forward their ppg to the NHL unless they're the best in the league, but find ways to transfer their scoring talent to lesser degrees and by shifting roles. It is unclear if Biggs will need to shift roles or not. He has never been a prolific scorer, but has shown the ability to provide offense, and has maintained a physical game. Hopefully that physical game was not incumbent on playing against smaller players and will be equally significant in the NHL.

If a comparable had to be chosen, I think at his best, Biggs tops out as Dustin Brown or Ryan Callahan. The Milan Lucic comparison is always desired and overblown, because he will never have the talent of Milan Lucic. That is not to say that Brown and Callahan don't have talent, but they play less of a skill game and more of a body-first to generate offense. At his worst, Biggs probably plays like Craig Adams or Ryan Reaves. Hopefully he ends up somewhere in the middle, like Nikolai Kulemin, David Clarkson, or Nick Foligno.

Because he plays a physical game and already has decent size, he is more likely to be able to transition to the AHL and NHL adequately This leads to his average vote being slightly higher than someone like Leivo, who is fighting against size. However, because he has never put up significant points, the potential top 6 upside is more farfetched, and thus led everyone to vote him lower. He will likely never reach his potential, becoming a Callahan/Brown/Doan, but he will likely be a serviceable NHLer, which is what anyone can hope from what was two 2nd round picks. As such, he ends up on the back-end of our top 25, coming in at 19.

18. Brad Ross

18ross_medium

Brad Ross is a gritty, offensively inclinded but defensively responsible winger who has spent the last four seasons playing for the Portland Winterhawks of the WHL. He was drafted by the leafs in the 2nd round of 2010 after they acquired the pick in exchange for Jimmy Hayes. Ross is one of the few players in juniors who put up both PPG and 150 PIM, and he's done it the last 3 seasons, pointing to him as a feisty superpest.


Brad Ross
Left Wing
Born May 28 1992  -- Lethbridge, ALTA 
Height 6.01 -- Weight 183 -- Shoots L

                                            --- Regular Season ---  ---- Playoffs ----
Season   Team                        Lge    GP    G    A  Pts  PIM  GP   G   A Pts PIM
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
2007-08  Portland Winter Hawks       WHL     3    0    0    0    0  --  --  --  --  --
2008-09  Portland Winter Hawks       WHL    61    9   17   26  119  --  --  --  --  --
2009-10  Portland Winterhawks        WHL    71   27   41   68  203  13   2   7   9  36
2010-11  Portland Winterhawks        WHL    67   31   38   69  171  16   4   2   6  33
2011-12  Portland Winterhawks        WHL    68   42   40   82  163  22  12  10  22  57
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

This is what Ross had to say about his role and style as a winger:

I like to grind it out down low. I mean, Nino and Johansen, they know I'll go in the corners and muck it up and get the puck to them and get the puck to Nino. He'll put the puck in the net and maybe I'll put the puck in the net, too, a few times.

Personally, I love Ross and think he has what it takes to be a marginal top 6 forward in the future, and at least for a couple years. Undoubtedly his pre-junior career was spent as a scorer, and he transitioned to the top line of his WHL team which he held for his entire junior career. He was gifted the opportunity of playing with two of the best prospects of his age group. Nino Niederreiter and Ryan Johansen, boosting his scoring totals substantially. Regardless, he was able to keep up with their scoring prowess, and contributed in his feisty, physical way, to clear space for these two top prospects. After they left to play in the NHL, he maintained his spot on the top line and also maintained his scoring clip. In his next year (last season) he played with two more top-prospects, Ty Rattie and Sven Bartschi. These two, however, are not as prolific has his past linemates, and given his experience, he drove a lot of the offense. This is to be expected of an overager but it still speaks to the fact that while he had his numbers boosted by his linemates, he his not incapable of generating offense.

At his best, Ross will find himself as an Alex Burrows type player (talented, edgy, and riding coattails to two superstars, the same way he did in Portland). At his worst, cracking the NHL, he'll fall into an Arron Asham or Jordin Tootoo role. We can hope for him to be somewhere in the middle, emulating a Steve Downie, Steve Ott, or even Matt Cooke.

Brad "the boss" Ross was the most consistently ranked of our prospects so far. I think that with Ross its clear we'd be hard pressed to get a top six forward, but that he will probably play in the future as a third liner. He's still quite a bit away from this roll, relegating him to the 16-20 range, and he doesn't have the upside that would put him up a group. Nevertheless, Ross is going to be a part of the Maple Leafs Organization going forward, and that ranks him on our top 25 under 25 at 18.


17. Jerry D'Amigo

17damigo_medium

Jerry D'Amigo is a stocky American winger drafted in the 6th round of 2009 by the leafs. He developed through the USNDP (same program Kessel & JVR played in) and went on for a season of college post-draft. He is probably best known for leading Team USA in scoring at the U18 World Championships, where they won gold over Canada. He also grows an awesome beard.

Jerry D'Amigo
Left Wing
Born Feb 19 1991  -- Binghamton, NY 
Height 5.11 -- Weight 213 -- Shoots L

                                            --- Regular Season ---  ---- Playoffs ----
Season   Team                        Lge    GP    G    A  Pts  PIM  GP   G   A Pts PIM
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
2007-08  USNTDP Under-18 Team        NAHL   44    5   12   17   59
2008-09  USNTDP Under-18 Team        NAHL   11    8    6   14    4
2008-09  U.S. National Under-18 Te   Ind    53   23   33   56   61
2009-10  R.P.I.                      ECAC   35   10   24   34   37
2010-11  Toronto Marlies             AHL    43    5   10   15   23  --  --  --  --  --
2010-11  Kitchener Rangers           OHL    21   12   16   28   12   7   6   3   9   0
2011-12  Toronto Marlies             AHL    76   15   26   41   39  17   8   5  13  12
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

After leaving RPI to join the Marlies, and then being sent down to Kitchener, this is what D'Amigo had to comment on the experience:

Kitchener was tough at the start. I wanted to maintain a certain timeline and getting sent back down, I was really upset and pretty angry at the time. In the end though, I think it was for the best ‘cause it allowed me to learn how hard it is to maintain that level of play and it was a bit of a wakeup call.

D'Amigo is a short (by NHL standards) but strong winger with untapped offensive upside. Through the United States National Development Team he had a slow start, as many did in their freshman year, but then responded with a shorted season at over a point per game. He then went to RPI where he again was point per game in his freshman season, which is quite encouraging. With such a good season, he hoped to challenge for a spot on the leafs, and started the next year in the AHL, where he met some trouble. After spending some time with the Kitchener Rangers, alongside Gabriel Landeskog, he rekindled his offensive instincts, which helped him toward a strong sophomore AHL campaign. He really took off in the AHL playoff run, where he led the team in scoring and grew an awesome beard. I love the player because he seems to work towards constant improvement. He has never maintained a low level of play in any league; both at the USNDP and the AHL, he responded to poor showings with significant improvement. With his strong work ethic and continued improvement, he could develop into a good top 6 winger.

Again, D'Amigo is smaller in stature, but does not necessarilly play a small-person's game. He's strong and is willing to throw the body around, but is not really known for it. At his best, D'Amigo will play the style of someone like Danny Briere or Brian Gionta. At his worst, in the NHL, he probably plays like Mike Comrie. What is most likely is he becomes a skilled, crafty #4 winger like Steve Sullivan or Jussi Jokinen.

D'Amigo also had a smaller spread and that is likely because there is little suspicion about what he might become. He has shown flashes of brilliance but has not been dominant enough at this stage to warrant a higher selection. The most frequent vote resulted a tie between being ranked 13 and 19, so its obvious why his final rank falls in the middle. D'Amigo will need to continue his strong finish to last season and will hopefully in the future play an average NHL role, ranking him 17th on our list.


16. Mark Owuya

16owuya_large

Mark Owuya is a 23 year old goalie that played last season split between the AHL and the ECHL for the leafs. He went undrafted and signed as a 21 year old to a two year entry level contract after putting up a league best save percentage in the SEL, and winning 2007 Under-18 Bronze and 2009 World Junior Silver medals.

Mark Owuya
Goalie
Born Jul 18 1989  -- Stockholm, Sweden 
Height 6.02 -- Weight 207 -- Shoots R


Season   Team                        Lge    GP   Min   GA  EN SO   GAA   W   L   T   Svs    Pct
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
2007-08  Djurgardens IF Stockholm    SEL     1    25    2   0  0  4.75   0   0   0     7  0.777
2010-11  Djurgardens IF Stockholm    SEL    32  1848   67   0  2  2.18   0   0   0   848  0.926
2010-11  Boras HC                    Swe-1   2   121    4   0  0  1.98   0   0   0    53  0.929
2011-12  Reading Royals              ECHL   25  1486   65   1  2  2.63  16   5   3   862  0.930
2011-12  Toronto Marlies             AHL    19  1018   33   1  2  1.94  11   5   1   432  0.929

Here's a quote from Owuya on the type of goalies he likes to pay attention to and learn from:

There are a lot of goalies I liked growing up. Especially the ones that Frankie worked with. I used to watch a lot of Giggy (Jean-Sebastien Giguere) a lot, I also liked Hiller. Lately I’ve been watching Lundqvist more and more.

Its very hard to find comparables for Mark Owuya, because of both his good stats and is transfer to North America at such a young age despite being undrafted. Even most drafted European goalies come over to play in North America after the age of 22, so to have him, as a European player, is rare. Here are some things worth getting excited about, however. In the time that the ECHL tracks (which is 6 years), only 10 goalies have put up greater than a .925 SV% through any significant amount of games (more than 20). Obviously Mark Owuya is one of these players. In fact, Mark Owuya had the highest save percentage of the following players, at .930. The players that reached higher than .925 are Jeff Jakatiis, Olivier Roy, Gerald Coleman, Brian Stewart, Glenn Fisher, Anton Khudobin, Kevin Laland, Mike McKenna, Ryan MacDonald. Not a lot of inspiring names there, but this is likely because for teams to have a good goalie in the ECHL they must have both partnerships with the ECHL as well as a depth of young goalies. Of those names, Glenn Fisher and Ryan MacDonald did not NOT go on to the AHL. Of those who went to the AHL, only Olivier Roy and Anton Khudobin put up over .920 in the AHL. Mark Owuya, in 20 games, put up .929. Prospects don't often play in the ECHL for too long because they improve and move up, so its alright, in my opinion, to examine his ECHL games in this manner. For him to maintain a .930 in the AHL would mean he's one of the best in the league, which itself has some good goalies, so it would probably be safe to wait until he's played some more in the AHL to find comparables. Never the less, it is interesting to realize that in his last three leagues, Owuya has stopped an average of .929% of the pucks.

Following Owuya's career path might allow us to determine who his NHL comparables are. From a leafs standpoint, Reimer spent time in the ECHL where he won a championship, went to the AHL and performed well, and now he's considered a starting NHL goaltender. Ben Scrivens might be a better comparable, however, as he was an undrafted goalie who put up great numbers in the AHL. As for as the SEL, I went through through their stats from the last 12 years and made a list of goalies who put up at least .925% through 28 games or more (there was a big drop off after this number of games). The list includes Henrik Lundqvist (3x), Fredrik Norrena (2x), Martin Gerber, Johan Holmqvist, Karol Krizan, Bjorn Bjurling, Jhonas Enroth, Jonas Gustavsson, Jakob Markstrom, Alexander Salak, David Rautio, Johan Gustafsson, Viktor Fasth, Joacim Eriksson, Frederik Andersen.

From this list, Henrik Lundqvist is obviously a starting goaltender in the NHL, and his stats in the SEL sort of point to this, as he was over .940 twice. Otherwise, starting goaltenders in the NHL from here have been Martin Gerber, Frerik Norrena, Johan Holmqvist and Jonas Gustavsson (in part). The seasons of Krizan and Bjurling appear to be aberrations, and not their normal play. Other notable names from tis list are Jhonas Enroth, Jakob Markstrom, Alxander Salak, and Viktor Fasth as they have been recently given or considered for NHL jobs. Andersen, Eriksson, and Gustafsson have all been recently drafted as well, so Owuya is, in general, in great company on this list.

I think, at his best (and this will never happen) Owuya becomes Henrik Lundqvist, and at the least, based on his stats, he becomes Jonas Gustavsson. Hopefully he ends up somewhere in between.

Because of his potential, and his ability to put up numbers at every level, Mark "in the park" Owuya has received some high rankings, including one at 8. The majority of his rankings are in the teens however, and this speaks to the inability to predict the development of goaltenders, as well as, probably, the lack of opportunity to watch Owuya play. With next season in the AHL we'll be able to figure out if he's the real deal, and another season of over .920 will ensure that he is.

And those are prospects 16-20 of the top 25 under 25 community edition. Our current standings are as follows:

#

Name

Age

Drafted

Round

Pos.

Last Season’s League

25

Sam Carrick

20

2010

5

C

Ontario Hockey League

24

Petter Granberg

20

2010

4

D

Swedish Elite League

23

Nicolas Deschamps

22

2008

2

C

American Hockey League

22

Garret Sparks

19

2011

7

G

Ontario Hockey League

21

Spencer Abbot

24

N/A

N/A

C

NCAA Men’s Division I

20

Josh Leivo

19

2011

3

LW

Ontario Hockey League

19

Tyler Biggs

19

2011

1

RW

Central Collegiate Hockey Association

18

Brad Ross

20

2010

2

LW

Western Hockey League

17

Jerry D’Amigo

21

2009

6

LW

American Hockey League

16

Mark Owuya

23

N/A

N/A

G

East Coast Hockey League

PensionPlanPuppets.com is a fan community that allows members to post their own thoughts and opinions on the Toronto Maple Leafs and hockey in general. These views and thoughts may not be shared by the editor of PensionPlanPuppets.com.

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