There is no NHL news right now. The draft is over, and people have looked at the new prospects that were drafted with more thorough analysis already. July 1st has come and gone, with the Leafs making some big trades that have also been discussed and analyzed already. None of the major RFAs have re-signed or signed an offersheet, though according to Ken Campbell, Marner has turned down two offer sheets already (I can’t remember if anyone more reputable than him reported this, so we’ll go with Ken in the meantime.)

Well, shit. We’ve hit the most boring period of the year to talk about hockey. Time to come up with empty calories topics to talk about.

So let’s go back to prospects, since we will be kicking off our annual Maple Leafs Top 25 Under 25 series in the not so distant future to break up the boredom.

One of the themes of that series is that there are always a few guys that have wildly divergent rankings, both from the contributors in the official series as well as by commenters in their own rankings. It leads to fantastic memes like “Carl Grundstom’s comparable is Wayne Simmonds”.

So for me, personally, here are some guys I am probably irrationally high on, which should give you some forewarning when I seem like a loon when my rankings are released.

Adam Brooks

I am an unabashed Adam Brooks fanboy. He’s already 23, so he’s not much of a prospect anymore, but as a somewhat late bloomer I still have hopes for him. Last year he more than doubled his previous year’s totals in goals (19 vs 8) and points (40 vs 19) in the AHL, and also more than doubled his shot rate from 1.21 per game to 2.41. In the pre-season last year, he got pretty high praise from Babcock. Will his ceiling be anything but AHL all-star with some time on NHL fourth lines? Maybe not. But I believe he will be a 3C anyways. So there.

Nick Robertson

Nick Robertson is a precious boy and I will die for him. He was only just drafted, but his background and all the stories we’ve heard about him since then are just the best. What I particularly love is a) the fact that he trolled Babcock at his house during Halloween one year as a trick or treater, and b) that in everything he says or that his coaches say about him, he seems like a person that was designed in a lab by Mike Babcock. In fact, he might even overwhelm Babs with his own Babcockian ways and I am here for that to happen.

Joseph Woll & Ian Scott

I think we as Leafs fans are still a long ways away from really being able to evaluate goalies, much less goalies who are prospects. I’m grouping these two together since I can’t really distinguish them as far as any personality (based on my limited knowledge) that makes them fun. I give a slight edge to Woll as far as ability, from what I have read, but I think they can form a fun duo in the near future for the Marlies and then the Leafs. I want a new Reimernier! Which for these two, I guess will be.... Swoll? Or Wott? Either’s good, really.

Riley Stotts

Last year I ranked Riley Stotts the highest of any of the PPP voters for the T25U25, and I even wrote about him as a honourable mention. I made the bold take that Stotts should not be considered far behind the new hotness at the time, Semyon Der-Arguchintsev. It turns out I was sorta right, but not because of how great Stotts performed... more because SDA didn’t perform that well in the OHL. Stotts at least improved his production a bit, going from 0.64 points per game in 2017/18 to 0.92 in 2018/19. His shot totals remained the same, however, and there were other teammates of his that had a lot more points — they were all older overagers, however, who I think had more of a role in terms of ice time and powerplay time. He seems to have been used as either the 2nd or 3rd line center, behind the 1C Mark Kastelic, who is a year older. Of his 57 total points, 43 were at even strength (78%). Of those 43 even strength points, 35 were primary points. Of his 14 powerplay points, 9 were primary points.

Of those same teammates that were ahead of him in points? Here’s the list of guys with more points than Stotts, sorted from the most at the top:

  • Mark Kastelic had 57% points at even strength
  • James Malm had 73% of his points at even strength, but also had 16 second assists.
  • Carson Focht had 56.5% of his points at even strength, and also had 16 second assists./

(Stats taken from a new prospect stats site on the block:

Does this mean much? Probably not. If Stotts wasn’t getting more of a role, it could very well be because he hadn’t earned it. With a lot of the Hitmen’s older players aging out of the WHL, I’m hoping for a big jump from him this coming season.

Andreas Borgman

Not going to lie, I probably won’t even rank Borgman on the T25 at all. It’s not because I think he doesn’t have the ability, because I absolutely think he does. He’s a thicc boi, and he has an intoxicating set of physical tools on defense that I loved watching when he was with the Leafs. Unfortunately, as is often the case by guys whose careers get prematurely derailed, Borgman has had to deal with a lot of injuries since being demoted to the Marlies — namely, concussions. At this point I just don’t think he’ll ever be able to make it back to the NHL, and will soon wind up in Europe. I’m cheering and hoping for him to prove me wrong and return this year with a vengeance.

Justin Brazeau

I honestly don’t know much about him. I know he scored a crap ton of goals in the OHL last year as an overager, I know he is our newest Large Adult Son, and I know he is a late bloomer. Basically, I have attached myself onto him ever since the Leafs broke my heart and traded away Fedor Gordeev. I’m really hoping the Leafs’ development team with the Marlies turn him into an absolute wrecking ball.

What Leafs prospect are you irrationally in love with? Fight with each other in the comments over them!

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