This time last year Jeremy Bracco was riding the high of winning the Memorial Cup with the Windsor Spitfires, and preparing for his first professional hockey season with the Toronto Marlies.

Leafs prospect Jeremy Bracco caps off perfect season with Memorial Cup

The transition from junior leagues to the professional ranks can be a difficult one. Many players who scored a hundred plus points in the OHL fail to make a dent on an AHL team. Last season with the Marlies, Bracco wasn’t a star, but he didn’t completely fall off the radar either.

Overall Bracco had what we could call an average season in the AHL. Among rookies he placed 31st in scoring, with six goals and 26 assists. Four other players scored 32 points, but Jeremy did it in only 50 games. At 0.64 points per game he was 15th for rookies in the AHL. In his final 12 games he went on a huge tear, scoring 11 of those points to end the season. Now I don’t mean to wow you with fancy numbers, but when his regular season ended, his playing days were almost over for the year. The Marlies relied heavily on more experienced players, letting Bracco play in just four games over the next two months of playoffs, and he scored only one goal.

Jeremy Bracco stats via Elite Prospects

2013-2014USNTDP JuniorsUSHL349283710
U.S. National U17 TeamUSDP5416587420
2014-2015USNTDP JuniorsUSHL241418326
U.S. National U18 TeamUSDP6530649410
2015-2016Boston CollegeNCAA50334
Kitchener RangersOHL4921436419
2016-2017Kitchener RangersOHL271734514
Windsor SpitfiresOHL30824322
2017-2018Toronto MarliesAHL506263210

Bracco has the skills to provide highlight reel goals and to score when the need is there.

He did it in the OHL:

He did it in the Memorial Cup:

He did it for the Marlies:

He did it on the international stage:

Once he knows how to use those skills in the professional ranks, he’ll have a huge impact on the Marlies. After Kasperi Kapanen and Andreas Johnsson left the team. Bracco filled the void just fine. In fact he’s followed their lead so well he’s scoring at the same rate they did in their seasons before being called up:

Well, there’s the fact that Kapanen was a year younger, and scored more goals. Johnsson also had a more even scoring rate that year. However they were both getting in Bracco’s way last season, as he didn’t play much for the first half of the season and started to move up the line up with them gone.

A year with more ice time and more room is just what he needs. So, that progression is not a guarantee, but it’s fun to dream. Now, if he’s been playing so well, why the drop from 13th down to 17th?

Part of it is now that the score sheet fun is gone, he’s not a big fish in a small pond — no more 27 point scoring streaks in the near future for him. He’s not catching our eyes and lighting things up. The step up isn’t a step back, but it was a step out of the spotlight.

Another reason could be that more hope is seen in newer prospects, and those who made the move up a league. Can Bracco be ranked higher in the future? He has the ability to be an amazingly fun player to watch, and if he makes the same jump Kapanen and Johnsson made in their second years in the AHL, I don’t see why not. And hey, Connor Brown’s aging out after this year, so there’s one spot already.