This seems like as good a spot as any to remind people following this year's that not all positions on the countdown are created equal, particularly when as has happened with our list over time, the pool of eligible players shrinks.
With just 37 players in this edition (we already covered why Christopher Gibson (timing) and Kevin Marshall (screwup) weren't included), that means that to date, we've basically looked at the bottom third of Maple Leafs prospects. Of all the players we had available to us to consider their future, we`ve so far only eliminated the twelve we either have very little hope for becoming NHLers, or we have no idea what to expect out of them, but it`s a longshot.
So while in terms of quality, we`re still very much in that range, we slowly move away from knowing nothing to knowing a little bit. And with that, Viktor Lööv cracks the Top 25 as our 24th best player under the age of 25.
Unlike most of the players that he beat on this ranking, Lööv is competing against grown men. This year marked his second season playing in the Allsvenskan, Sweden`s second tier of professional hockey. So with that in mind, Lööv gets a bit of a break when you try and reconcile why a player who is referred to in scouting reports as a "strong two-way defenceman" with "good offensive skills", but only has 14 points in 90 games; he's still a kid trying to figure out the pro game, likely not getting first-rate ice time.
The good news is next season Lööv will see increased competition, having left his hometown club Sodertajle for MODO in the SHL, Sweden's top league and unquestionably one of the best three or four hockey leagues in the world.
The bad news is Lööv was drafted as an overage, a late-birthday '92 taken in the 7th Round of the 2012 Draft. This means he will be 21 years old this season. That's not by any means to suggest it's a bad thing, but he's slightly further along the development track, and is only now moving up to face stiffer competition. There's also no indication (yet) he will be following other Swedish born prospects Petter Granberg and Tom Nilsson over to North America anytime soon.
EDITION 2 - 32/41
EDITION 1 - N/A
Great name. Iffy prospect.
Lööv remains a "wait-and-see" player. Just keep in mind that this low in the countdown things are quite flat, and it's very easy to make a name for yourself and just as easy to fall out of favour.