(I’m not doing it.)
(You can’t make me.)
(What?! NO! Fine! I’ll do it!)
Welcome to the seventeenth post in the 2016 Top 25 Under 25 series! Today, we have a great future piece of the Maple Leafs forward corps, Brendan Leipsic!
Before he was a Maple Leaf, The Hockey News ran an article on Leipsic, calling him "The most annoying prospect in hockey."
Why did they call him this? Well, his most famous incident was with the WHL’s Portland Winterhawks:
"I think I’ve been asked this a thousand times," Leipsic said. "It was a heat-of-the-moment thing. Probably wasn’t the smartest thing at the time, but something you learn from and move on. I know guys weren’t too happy at the time but we can laugh about it now."
Okay, I’ve done my legally required mention of that clip and article.
Last year in the Top 25 Under 25, Leipsic placed 12th overall. So what’s with the drop in ranking for him? I don’t think that he’s leveling off as a prospect, he is coming off his NHL debut and did score his first NHL goal in his first NHL game. His drop out of the top 15 is due to the growth of other prospects, some who we didn’t rank last year getting their due (Timashov has yet to appear), and shiny new toys coming in to play with (Hello Auston, Nikita). The drop isn’t a reflection on -him- it’s a reflection on the prospect pool.
Leipsic was drafted originally by Nashville in 2012 and came to the Maple Leafs along with Olli Jokinen and a first for Mike Santorelli and Cody Franson. He made an immediate impact on the Marlies, putting up 19 points in his first 27 games in Toronto.
He played the majority of the year with the Marlies again this year but did make an appearance in the NHL.
Not to harp on size, but he is a smaller player, coming in right now at 5’9" and under 200lbs, but he can play the game of a pest, but with a nice scoring touch as well. He’s been trusted with important roles and has shown the ability to step up as a player, like when Nylander missed time for the Marlies, Leipsic stepped right in, and never looked back.
Leipsic finished off his Marlies season with 54 points in 65 games, putting him 4th overall, but third in players who spent the entire season with the Marlies (Colin Smith was 3rd overall, but split time with San Antonio).
He made his NHL debut last February as an emergency call up, and totalled six games over the back end of the season, ending up with 3 points total.
This year Leipsic was again ranked by all but one voters, averaging his place in the teens:
If he continues his net crash, puck diving ways, we could end up with another Leo Komarov, or our own Brendan Gallagher, a feisty guy who can put up points and is glue for the team to keep it’s game up (The Habs didn’t really fall apart until Gallagher’s disappearance from the bench) (Yeah, I went to intangibles, fight me).
If he can continue to work on his puck game, and stay on top of the Marlies line up, maybe even wow Babcock & co in camp, the former CHL scoring champion will find his way into the NHL in no time.
From my point of view, Leipsic has a future in the NHL, he’ll be a useful piece of the bottom 6 within a season or two. Once again, don’t look as your drop a criticism of yourself, Brendan, but it may make things a bit more challenging for your role.
Later, at the daily PPPick up game: