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An early look at next season’s depth chart and prospect pipeline

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With four names to add to the depth chart, and some changes to the pipeline, it’s time for an early look at the 2018-2019 state of things.

Igor Ozhiganov in red.
Igor Ozhiganov in red is now on the depth chart.
Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images

With the four signings yesterday, we have new players to add to the depth chart. For this in-between period before the state of free agent signings is known, we are just guessing about who will and won’t be on the list of NHL-contracted players this fall.

I have left on the list every player who is a pending RFA, assuming they will be signed. This likely won’t turn out to be true, but for now, we’ll go with it. I’ve taken off all pending UFAs, so the list is bare in places. Worryingly bare in places.

In the 2017-2018 season, the Leafs had one player under contract who did not play on either the Leafs or the Marlies. That player was Carl Grundstrom. As of now, we don’t know where Pierre Engvall and Jesper Lindgren will play, but it’s entirely possible they will not be loaned back to their European clubs.

Notes on the choice of order and category: Players are LW or RD by their natural position or shooting hand. Many of these player do play their off side. You can adjust for that as you look at the list. This is NHL-contracted players only, and the order leans towards NHL-proximity or usage in the NHL, but is just an approximation. The last four names in the LW list are alphabetized because I just couldn’t chose an order. Web version.

2018-2019 Projected Depth Chart

C LW RW D - L D - R G
C LW RW D - L D - R G
Auston Matthews Patrick Marleau William Nylander Morgan Rielly Nikita Zaitsev Frederik Andersen
Nazem Kadri Zach Hyman Mitch Marner Jake Gardiner Connor Carrick Curtis McElhinney
Par Lindholm Andreas Johnsson Connor Brown Ron Hainsey Igor Ozhiganov Garret Sparks
Miro Aaltonen Josh Leivo Kasperi Kapanen Travis Dermott Timothy Liljegren Calvin Pickard
Adam Brooks Matt Martin Jeremy Bracco Andreas Borgman Justin Holl Kasimir Kaskisuo
Frederik Gauthier Pierre Engvall Trevor Moore Martin Marincin Vincent LoVerde -
Chris Mueller Carl Grundstrom - Calle Rosen Jesper Lindgren -
- Mason Marchment - Andrew Nielsen - -
- Dmytro Timashov - - - -

This is where I laugh in a sort of hollow way about the centre depth. Just play Nylander! Okay, maybe, possibly even likely without a much better option being added from the outside. That might work out. And then what? What’s your RW depth now? And are you swapping a LW? Okay, so how’s that look now?

To say this looks unfinished is an understatement. I think there’s names to be added yet, and they won’t be draft picks coming in on the bottom of each category. You can make a team with what is here, sure, but your call-up list is weak, and a rash of injuries would be a disaster.

Also, are you a right-shooting defender? You can totally get a job on the Leafs.

Not a lot has changed on the pipeline list — which is all Leafs draft picks not under contract — other than the two names removed. All non overage juniors or NCAA players are assumed to be returning to their teams, but there’s some rumours out there that some might not. Vladislav Kara is suddenly listed on Elite Prospects as under contract for two more years, so we can assume that’s true.

The top of the list shows the players whose rights expire in two weeks. If they aren’t signed, they will come off. As will Nolan Vesey on August 15, since a contract there seems very unlikely. Until the draft rolls around, this list looks very bare, and will get worse in a two weeks.

Pipeline web version.

Maple Leafs Pipeline as of May 17, 2018

Name Birthdate Pos 2017/2018 Team 2018/2019 Team Rights Expire
Name Birthdate Pos 2017/2018 Team 2018/2019 Team Rights Expire
Keaton Middleton February 10, 1998 D Saginaw Spirit, OHL June 1, 2018
Vladimir Bobylev April 18, 1997 C Toros Neftekamsk, VHL/MHL June 1, 2018
Nicolas Mattinen March 5, 1998 D Hamilton Bulldogs, OHL June 1, 2018
J.J. Piccinich June 12, 1996 RW Orlando Solar Bears, ECHL June 1, 2018
Nolan Vesey March 28, 1995 LW U. of Maine, NCAA August 15, 2018
Martins Dzierkals April 4, 1997 LW Orlando Solar Bears, ECHL June 1, 2019
Ian Scott January 11, 1999 G Prince Albert Raiders, WHL Prince Albert Raiders, WHL June 1, 2019
Fedor Gordeev January 27, 1999 D Flint Firebirds, OHL Flint Firebirds, OHL June 1, 2019
Ryan McGregor January 29, 1999 C/LW Sarnia Sting, OHL Sarnia Sting, OHL June 1, 2019
Eemeli Räsänen April 6, 1999 D Kingston Frontenacs, OHL Kingston Frontenacs, OHL June 1, 2019
Dakota Joshua May 15, 1996 C Ohio State, NCAA Ohio State, NCAA August 15, 2019
Joseph Woll July 12, 1998 G Boston College, NCAA Boston College, NCAA August 15, 2020
J.D. Greenway April 27, 1998 D U. of Wisconsin, NCAA U. of Wisconsin, NCAA August 15, 2020
Ryan O'Connell April 25, 1999 D Penticten Vees, BCHL Boston University, NCAA August 15, 2022
Yegor Korshkov July 10, 1996 RW Lokomotiv, KHL Lokomotiv, KHL Indefinite
Nikolai Chebykin August 1, 1997 LW Dynamo St. Petersburg, VHL Slavat Yulaev Ufa, KHL/VHL Indefinite
Vladislav Kara April 20, 1998 C/W Bars Kazan, VHL/Ak Bars KHL Bars Kazan, VHL/Ak Bars KHL Indefinite

The Leafs now have two seventh round picks under contract in Pierre Engvall and Andreas Johnsson, two non-drafted players in Trevor Moore and Mason Marchment, and a host of other free agent signings. It’s hard to be too unhappy about the remnants of drafts past looking thin, given that level of success at stocking the team.