clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Observations on Leafs' prospect scrimmage

Team Blue won this one 5-2, but naturally, the score is of little concern.

Codie McLachlan/Getty Images

- Auston Matthews lights up the building when he picks up the puck in the offensive zone. He carries the puck in traffic really well with his head up, which allows him to be more manoeuvrable (not to mention fast). As soon as he touched the puck I thought "Wow! Who is that? ... Oh." It's exciting because he looks just as good as advertised.

- Travis Dermott, the more I watch of him, just plays a safe game. I like the way he takes away space around his own blue line and uses a quick stick to stop a rush. He isn't overly physical on the boards in those rush situations, but that just means he's in better position most of the time. It looks like he needs work on his outlet passes (there were more off-the-glass-and-outs than I would have liked), but then, none of these players know each other, and it's probably not worth judging Dermott on these types of things now.

- Joseph Woll didn't allow a goal in his time on the ice, though he wasn't tested with many high-danger shots.

- Mitchell Marner looked good doing what he normally does. He breaks up passes well, falls back quickly to cover defencemen, is the first one applying backside pressure in transition, and generally has a strong defensive game. He scored a goal on a rebound by Trevor Moore (who looked good himself), and made several great passes in the offensive zone. There were a couple of instances in the offensive zone where you'd like to have seen him shoot, but oh well. He added another slick wrist shot goal after picking Timashov's pocket in the neutral zone. He also gave Matthews about all he could handle on the forecheck, so maybe Marner's weight just won't be the big issue everyone seems to think it will be.

- Dmytro Timashov had some good rushes down the wing - the puck seems to find him. Dermott shut him down nicely once or twice with poke checks. Timashov also got toe dragged pretty badly by Marner in the neutral zone once, which was embarrassing, but then, Marner embarrasses a lot of people. But these little moments shouldn't detract from how good Timashov looked overall. He uses great speed through the neutral zone, and is shifty enough to create space for himself. Playing on Matthews' wing probably didn't hurt.

- Jeremy Bracco showed some great speed, burning a Team Blue defender on the outside, and getting a good chance on net. He took a slash to make the play and was awarded a penalty shot, which he buried with a quick snap of a wrister after some impressive stickhandling. The knock on him of course is that he's a bit small, and Carl Grundstrom absolutely levelled him - it looked like a bit of a head shot to me, but not penalty was called.

- Jack Walker looked shifty with the puck. I like how he skates with the puck down low and still manages to protect it. His speed probably needs to be a bit better. He got caught on a rush pretty quickly by a backchecking Bracco.

- Keaton Middleton looked about as advertised. He's big, slow, and doesn't read plays quickly enough to respond properly, what with his skating deficiencies. It wasn't all bad, though. He made a few clean breakout passes, and certainly does use his massive reach effectively. Also, along the boards... well, you can imagine how things went for some of the undersized wingers the Leafs had playing in this scrimmage.

- J.D. Greenway is big, but he isn't without skill. He exchanged a couple nice give and go passes with Marner to start rushes and he isn't afraid to step off the blue line. I didn't watch him very closely in this one, but he'll be an interesting player to monitor going forward.

- I had to check on hockeydb who Tyler Wong is, but he's quick, stickhandles well to create space, and makes some good passes. He's only 5'9", but he played a 3 games with the Marlies last year and notched an assist. I'm interested to see more of him. He had two goals today.

- Martins Dzierkals had some offensive flashes as well, letting a slick drop pass go to Bracco, who buried his second of the scrimmage with a wrister on the rush.