Every year, the list that we put together for PPP's Top 25 Under 25 undergoes a lot of major changes by the time we get to next summer and prepare for the next edition.
In addition to bringing in an entire new draft classes, other players will not graduate from prospect to professional hockey player, players will not meet expectations and either not be offered a new contract or traded to a different organization, new players will also come into the organization to replace them, and seeing as this is a list based on an age cut-off, some will stay with the organization, but will no longer be eligible to be considered for the list.
So before we jump into this year's list, let's take a quick look back at the people that will not be joining us in this year's edition, for one reason or another.
Dennis Robertson (last rank: 30)
(Robertson didn't make the list, but we happened to do a profile on him before the series began. You can read it there)
Heading into last year's list, Robertson was a longshot with a bit of offensive ability, heading into his senior season in the NCAA at Brown University. Brown had a decent season, but was traded at New Years' to Carolina in the deal that sent John-Michael Liles to the Huricanes in exchange for Tim Gleason. Upon completion of his season, Robertson signed a deal with Carolina, and is slated to try and earn a spot in the AHL with the Charlotte Checkers.
Andrew Crescenzi (last rank: 29)
Crescenzi couldn't manage to establish himself among the Marlies regular forwards, playing 32 games before being traded to Los Angeles and being assigned to the Manchester Monarchs, where he is expected to return this year.
Kenny Ryan (last rank: 25)
The former second round pick in 2009 had carved himself out a nice role as a depth forward for the Marlies, and had done enough to earn his way back into our list. He had another decent season in a similar role, chipping in 16 points in 50 games for the Marlies, but the Leafs did not tender Ryan a qualifying offer.
Jerry D'Amigo (last rank: 11)
D'Amigo continued to be an effective two-way forward for the Marlies, and took advantage of some injuries to the parent club to provide a glimpse of his potential as an NHL energy player, picking up his first NHL goal (chronicled on HBO's 24/7 no less) along the way. D'Amigo will try and break through to the NHL with the Columbus Blue Jackets, after being traded in the offseason in exchange for former Leaf Matt Frattin.
Jesse Blacker (last rank: 10)
A full complement of capable defence on last season's Toronto Marlies meant someone would be on the outside looking in, and that was the former 2nd round pick Blacker. The Leafs would move him to the Anaheim Ducks as part of the trade for Peter Holland. Blacker again established himself as a strong AHL defenceman with the Norfolk Admirals, setting a career high for points in the AHL. He'll look to build on that performance this year again in Norfolk.
Joe Colborne (last rank: 6)
The Leafs, facing a precarious cap situation to begin the season, did not seem to have a place for Colborne at the beginning of the season. Rather than risk losing him on waivers, former Leaf boss Brian Burke, now helming the Calgary Flames, engineered a no-risk acquisition of the player he had once acquired as the centrepiece of the Tomas Kaberle trade. The former Bruins 1st rounder had an effective season as a bottom six option for a goal-starved Flames team.
Jonathan Bernier (last rank: 5)
Though 25 years old at the time of the article, Bernier was 24 at the time of voting, which made the newly acquired goaltender from the Los Angeles Kings eligible for the list. Bernier flourished given the opportunity to play regularly, providing stellar goaltending that for a long time seemed possible to replicate the Leafs succss from the previous season that saw them sneak into the playoffs. Unfortunately, the wheels came flying off after the Olympics, as a groin injury and overall awful play from the entire team saw Bernier's play tail off. Two things to watch for this season are whether Bernier can repeat last season's performance, and what the newly analytics-savvy Leaf front office decides to do with Bernier's pending contract extension.
James Van Riemsdyk (last rank: 1)
JVR was the eventual winner in a closely contested three-man race to succeed Phil Kessel as our top ranked Maple Leaf under the age of 25, as he edged out Jake Gardiner and Nazem Kadri. In the season, van Riemsdyk emphatically solidified his claim to the title, meshing wonderfully with Kessel and Tyler Bozak to give the Leafs a dangerous first line. JVR scored 30 goals and had 61 points (both career highs), and got to represent the USA at the Olympics. Now 25, he relinquishes the title but remains a relied upon offensive threat for the Maple Leafs.