I've mentioned before that I like to write some of these draft profiles around who I am guessing fit the mold of what the Maple Leafs are looking for in a prospect. This has changed over the years as I've seen and watched more and more of their drafted prospects and what their strengths and weaknesses are.

This year, there have been two prospects in particular that I've thought screamed potential Leafs' picks in the late first round. One of them has not been ranked too high (yet), but the other is – as of writing this – right in Toronto's range. I mostly hate making comparisons to other players, but I'll spoil things a bit and say that Andrew Basha seems to have a bit of Easton Cowan in him. Not that he's the exact same, but there are some elements of his game that does remind me of Cowboy.

So let's talk about him.


  • Position: Left-Shot Winger
  • League(s): WHL
  • Height: 5'11"
  • Weight: 187 lbs
  • Birthdate: November 8th, 2005

Here are his draft rankings, as of writing this:

  • Bob McKenzie: 24th
  • Will Scouch: 14th
  • Elite Prospects: 18th
  • Scott Wheeler: 29th
  • Future Considerations: 30th
  • Dobber Prospects: 29th
  • McKeen's Hockey: 37th

Basha is an average, maybe slightly undersized, winger playing on one of the WHL's big up and coming teams. They have arguably the top prospect still in the league in Gavin McKenna, who put up numbers comparable to Connor Bedard at the same age this year. They have a likely top 5 pick in this year's draft in Cayden Lindstrom. And they also have some very strong supporting cast around them in guys like Basha.

Basha was a 5th round pick to the WHL back in 2020 – so not a lot of hype, but not a nobody either. He was one of the top producers in his U15 AAA league, but was not playing up against older age groups like other top prospects usually do. His next season was the pandemic year, where he got into only six total games in an U18 league. At the time, he was definitely undersized and listed as 5'8" and 140 lbs.

The following year, he started in another U18 league where he was again among the top producers, but wound up being called up to make his WHL debut at age 16 for his D-2 season. He never looked back, playing in 48 games for Medicine Hat and generating 14 points – good for second for his age group. The next season, which was last year, he again finished second for his age group in points with 56 points in 67 games.

From Mitch Brown's tracking data: https://www.patreon.com/user/posts?u=13951676

This season, he had another jump in production with 85 points in 63 games – good for 4th in the WHL for his age group, and 21st in the entire league regardless of age. He achieved this despite not getting top time at even strength or on the powerplay, though he was still playing on the second line and powerplay unit.

As of writing this, he's listed as 6'0" and 185 lbs. With a late 2005 birthday, he's on the older side of this year's draft eligible prospects so he may not have any more late growth spurts since it seems like he had that over the past year already. But he does still have more room to fill out muscle-wise.


Basha is a prospect that plays at a high pace most of the time. He is very strong on transitions, both because of his skating and his puck handling. He's not the slickest, nastiest dangler out there, but he is able to make his moves while going top speed. That combined with his quick feet and agility to evade defenders, he can be very difficult to defend on transitions – especially if a defenseman is caught flat-footed or going the wrong direction when he gets the puck. He is able to make smart, effective decisions when picking where and how to attack the defense on a rush.

What I love the most about watching him, however, is that he already has a strong tendency to try and attack the middle and dangerous areas of the ice. He'll bait going wide then do a quick move to the middle after he gets a defender to bite. Even when he isn't necessarily close to the net at that point, just his ability to get to the middle as teams try and force him wide causes chaos for their coverage. He's also good at attacking the middle during offensive zone possessions, but with more open space on the rush he is even more dangerous.

From Will Scouch:

In terms of raw, pure pace, skill, and quickness, Basha might be right up at the top of the class. When he has space to play with or a lane to exploit, he’s magic. Some of the most impressive single sequences I have seen from any player this year have come from Basha...
That said, Basha is an electric player. He’s quick to accelerate, quick with his hands, and uses quick thinking to jump the puck into open space and pierce through defenses.

In all of the clips below, Basha is #34.

When it comes to what Basha is able to do with the puck to produce points, he's definitely a better playmaker than he is a shooter. That's not to say he has a terrible shot, as I'd rate it as average as of now with the potential to be better. What he has going for him in that department, however, is the ability to take his shots from good locations – that attack the middle mindset means he's around the net often for his shots, rebounds, deflections, and so on.

But his passing is where he's best. He makes smart use of give and go's to move the puck quickly and get himself open, using his speed and quickness to get to a more dangerous area. Whether he shoots it after getting it back, or simply uses the threat of such to then make a follow up pass after the defense is starting to scramble doesn't really matter. He is able to use his speed and ability to make passes to break defenses down and create scoring chances for himself and/or his team.

From Scott Wheeler at The Athletic:

And while he has excellent hands, he doesn't hold onto the puck too long (a common problem for players with his skill set), instead using a two-touch short or a quick handle into a deft pass back against the grain to make the majority of his plays. His patience then becomes a utility rather than a crutch, only going to it when he needs to and relying on quick reads the rest of the time. He also shows a willingness to forecheck, play through bumps and fight for positioning and possession. He makes plays under sticks and through feet and into space, he thrives moving off the puck in and out of give-and-gos, and he has legitimate skill.

The other thing I like about Basha is his play without the puck. I'll note that this isn't something that is a consensus among scouts from what I've seen. Will Scouch, for example, finds his off puck play and defense to be weak at times, though it sounds like that is mostly due to his concern about his size.

From what I've personally seen, I have liked Basha off puck play. He forechecks hard, he is pretty aggressive in chasing down pucks to create turnovers, and he is able to use his skating to get back and help on defense. He is definitely not that physical – that's something that he doesn't have in common with Cowan very much. But what he does have is the ability to impact the game positively for his team without the puck, where even if he doesn't reach the absolute offensive ceiling you'd like he could still be a useful bottom six NHLer.

From the Elite Prospects team in one of their ranking discussion videos:

Mitch Brown: The thing I really liked about Basha when he first came into the WHL were his checking skills, his ability to win body positioning, get to the net, capitalize on rebounds, deflections, and his off puck game. We've seen him take on more of a driving role in Medicine Hat this season, but there's always that element that he could just be one of those kind of average sized checking forwards in the NHL. You know, stick them on your third line and annoy everyone – not because they're talking trash but they're always in your way, always creating a little bit of offense, always winning pucks off you. He's one of those guys whose games can go in a lot of different directions, but we're really starting to see more and more play driving that gives him a little bit of an extra push up the board from say the mid 20's to the teens.
Cam Robinson: I like how hard he works. He is driven towards the heart of areas too, and he's obviously getting to play with a lot of talented players in Medicine Hat. But I agree with you Mitch, you noticed him originally for his defensive play, his positioning, his hard work and his puck retrievals. And now you notice him because he has some of those dangles on the rush and he gets to the net front and he has quick hands. He's a fun player.

Basha is #34 in the clip below – watch his pace, effort and defense getting back after his initial rush. He's the kind of guy that you see all over the ice, making things happen.


If there is a concern about Basha it's how well you can project his game to the NHL. He does a lot of good things, but there are some questions about how well he'll be able to do them against NHL-level competition. Growing to 6'0" is helpful for him, but he's still a bit of a lightweight on his feet. He doesn't have Cowan's bulldog-on-skates ability to shrug off checks and bully his way around bigger defenders.

Basha relies on his skating, mostly his agility and quickness, to have an impact on the game. But strength is a concern for me, and not just in the sense of pure physicality. While he has quick acceleration and is very agile, his top speed – while very good – is not elite. Being able to increase his explosiveness and up his north-south speed would help him quite a lot. Without it, his offensive potential that's tied to his skating as much as it is will be limited. Adding strength could also help improve his shot, which is already pretty quick and accurate but doesn't have as much power as you'd like.

The biggest concern, though, is Basha's physicality. Fighting through checks, trying to tie up or lift sticks, getting into the dirty areas along the boards both offensively and defensively are all things where he would have limited impact without added strength. I do get the impression that he is not lacking in willingness or effort, but even in the WHL right now his impact is muted in those areas.


The good news is that Basha has time to work on building muscle and improving his strength in all of those areas. Most important, he has a solid foundation of skills and abilities to build off of already, all of which would also be improved by however much he adds that strength.

When I said earlier that Basha seemed like a player Toronto would like, it's because of how he impacts the game. He has some skill, but it's the way he thinks and plays the game that gets the most out of his abilities and helps his team in multiple ways. I can see him working as a swiss army knife winger that can play up and down the lineup and on both special teams units and do it well. He could be a useful supporting player in that sense, one that could use his speed, skill and off puck play plus all the little things that help drive play for his line. Think an Alex Kerfoot sort of guy, in that sense.

In Bob McKenzie's most recent rankings, Basha was at 24th overall. I don't have a good read for if he'd wind up rising or falling by the time his final rankings come out right before the draft itself. I'll take that as an indication that he may stay right around where he is, but honestly if I were to pick either direction I'd guess he may fall just slightly. That would put him right in Toronto's range.

While there are others I like more than Basha, out of all the most realistic options that seem more likely to be available I will say I like him a lot.

Thanks for reading!

I put a lot of work into my prospect articles here, both for the draft and Toronto's prospects. I do it as a fun hobby for me, and I'd probably do it in some capacity even if PPP completely ceased to exist. But if you like reading my work, some support would go a long way! I pay for a few streaming services (CHL, NCAA, USHL, the occasional TSN options for international tournaments that are broadcast) to be able to reliably watch these prospects in good quality streams. I also pay for some prospect-specific resources, such as tracking data and scouting reports from outlets like Elite Prospects, Future Considerations, McKeen's Hockey, The Athletic, and more.

Being able to get paid for this helps me dedicate more time and resources to it, rather than to second/third jobs. And whatever money I make here, a lot of I reinvest back into my prospect work through in those streaming and scouting services. Like I said, I'd be doing whatever I can afford for this anyway, so any financial help I get through this is greatly appreciated!

PPP Leafs Runs on Your Subscriptions

Consider making a commitment today.

Support PPP