So I missed this yesterday, but while browsing the Sportsnet site and checking in on their articles about Leafs prospect Connor Brown being named the Red Tilson Trophy winner as MVP of the OHL, I stumbled across this gem from Jeff Simmons, son of top notch Toronto Sun columnist and TSN talking head Steve Simmons.
Apparently the apple doesn't fall far from the tree as was quickly evident... to wit:
"Considering how poorly they’ve drafted over the past 20 years, it’s been rare to see a Toronto Maple Leafs prospect receive any sort of recognition."
Seriously? It's like the whole Andreas Johnson winning rookie of the year for the Swedish Hockey League news didn't make it across the Atlantic. I know it's hard to catch it when half of the barilkosphere writes postings on it, but it happened... for reals... on April 21st... less than 3 weeks ago.
Also in recent years (2009 and 2011) Leafs draft picks Matt Frattin and Viktor Stalberg were in the final groups of candidates for the Hobey Baker Award in the NCAA. Not that anyone would notice Frattin what with how he led the NCAA in goal scoring. (Spencer Abbott and Ben Scrivens were also in this category, but neither one was signed as a Leaf until leaving the NCAA as UFA's)
Ok so maybe the recent history thing isn't a good indicator, let's just think about the fact that the Leafs have had crappy prospects for the past 20 years right? well - not right. I mean - in 20 years (since 1994-95) there have been 20 Red Tilson Trophies handed out. But wait, 2 of those were won by Brad Boyes of the Erie Otters - a Leafs draft pick and prospect. Another two were won by Alyn McCauley of the Ottawa 67's, who admittedly was drafted by New Jersey, but won his second Tilson trophy after being traded to the Leafs on February 25th, 1997.
So even if we don't include McCauley's first Red Tilson Trophy, I'm granting him the 2nd one as a Leafs prospect, because he was our prospect when he won it. So now we've got two from Boyes, one from McCauley and another from Brown this year. That's 4 of the last 20 Red Tilson trophies? Any other Leafs? Well Jeff Simmons seems to think so:
"Brown is the second Leafs draft pick (the other being Kyle Wellwood) to win the Red Tilson Trophy since the turn of the century."
Wait ... what? Ok hold on... second... Leafs draft pick? But what about Brad Boyes (drafted by the Leafs 24th overall in 2000) who won it for both the 2000-01 and 2001-02 seasons? Why is his name not in this paragraph? Also - if you look at this list of Red Tilson trophy winners you might notice something else: Kyle Wellwood's name isn't on the list.
You see, I know this is earth shattering to all of you Kyle Wellwood fans, but he actually won the 2000-01 Eddie Powers Memorial Trophy as the OHL's leading scorer with the Bellville Bulls (118 pts - more than Jason Spezza!). Also in his final year with the Windsor Spitfires he won the 2002-03 William Hanley Trophy as OHL Sportsman of the year, and the CHL Sportsman of the Year award... but he NEVER WON THE RED TILSON TROPHY.
So what the hell Simmons - fact check why don't you?
Where was I... oh right... so Leafs prospects have actually won the award 4 times in the last 20 years (1/5th of ALL POSSIBLE). There are only 30 teams in the NHL, and Leafs prospects are bringing home hardware from the OHL 20% of the time? I'd say that's pretty damn solid... even though we all know that OHL awards are sort of meaningless when it comes to developing prospects (Justin Azvedo and Corey Locke say hello from Finland).
Also not mentioned in this article are the fact that Brown was also awarded the aforementioned Eddie Powers Memorial Trophy for being the top scorer in the OHL, along with the Jim Mahon Trophy for being the top scoring RW.
So how does all of this wrap up... well here's the final hilarious nail in the coffin:
"So we figured we’d look at the history of OHL scoring leaders and Red Tilson winners since the turn of the century and see how they’ve fared at the NHL level."
"After Wellwood led the league in points in 2000-01..."
"There results for winners of the Red Tilson Trophy have been just as mixed. Recent winners include Vincent Trocheck, Michael Houser, Ryan Ellis, Seguin, Azevdeo, Tavares, Cody Hodgson, Wolski, Perry, Locke, Brad Boyes, and Andrew Raycroft. Leafs fans surely remember Raycroft."
... But apparently Jeff Simmons doesn't remember which team drafted Brad Boyes and missed the fact that Wellwood didn't win the Red Tilson Trophy when he went over the lists. Great work Jeff. Great work.