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PPP's Top 25 Under 25 - #13 Greg McKegg

Is McKegg an NHL forward? We should have a much better idea after this season.

Greg McKegg has been stuck in the middle portion of our countdown ever since we began to create the Top 25 Under 25 series.

In our first issue, McKegg came in at 13th, having spent the past two and a half seasons as a leading scorer for Erie. That summer, following a strong run-in after being traded to the London Knights, McKegg dipped to 14th. Last summer, McKegg dropped one more spot to 15th, after he had a bit more of a rocky transition to life in the AHL.

In this edition, McKegg regains the positions he previously lost and jumps back to 13th. Now, having solidified his status as a top-six forward in the AHL, the questions the panel must face about McKegg mirror those that the Maple Leafs will be facing with McKegg's future; can he make the jump to the next level, or is he going to get caught in between roles?

Birthyear: 1992-06-17 Birthplace: St. Thomas, ON, CAN
Age: 22 Nation: Canada
Position: C Shoots: L
Height: 183 cm / 6'0" Weight: 86 kg / 190 lbs
Youth Team: Elgin Middlesex MHA Contract: 14/15
Drafted: 2010 round 3 #62 overall by Toronto Maple Leafs

McKegg's rookie season got with the Marlies was short-circuited, first by the lockout adding a number of NHL level players to the top of the roster (all of a sudden Nazem Kadri and Joe Colborne were sucking up minutes McKegg otherwise might have had a shot at earning) and then a concussion cost him some playing time in the winter.

This season, McKegg received much more of an honest opportunity to receive the sort of playing time he would have hoped for, and he flourished, with 47 points in 65 games, great numbers for a young forward in the NHL.

One of the questions with McKegg has always been projecting him a place in an NHL line-up. His production, with Erie in the OHL, and now with the Marlies, shows that he certainly has offensive upside, a factor in the Maple Leafs using a 3rd round selection on him in 2010. But there are holes in his game, as Kyle Cicerella alludes to below that, along with the level of production he has produced, place him in that unfortunate "tweener" category, where he might be slightly overmatched by second line duties, but not possessing all of the "gritty" attributes consistent with the traditional view of a third-line forward.

Pegged as top-6 C. Showed major growth offensively and defensively in sophomore season. Can play both sides of special teams and good ability to control puck. Not the best vision or skater but can produce. Must continue to work on face-offs. Could see a call up but not likely early in season.

Read more of Kyle's thoughts on Greg McKegg here.

The Leafs remain thin at meaningful prospects that play centre, now that Nazem Kadri is an established centre in the NHL and Peter Holland likely joins him there this season. Trevor Smith will probably hold down the top centre job for the Marlies due to his experience and success at this level, leaving McKegg likely the incumbent for the Marlies' 2C role over a more defensively inclined option like Sam Carrick.

Name birky BowerPower Burtch Chemmy clrkaitken Nikota PPP SkinnyFish 67 Sound FINAL RANK
Greg McKegg 18 12 12 15 9 8 18 21 10 13
Previous Ranking 16 15 11 24 8 11 10 17 14 15

A similar class of player like Leivo, Verhaeghe, and Brown. McKegg also has a hilarious name, a hilarious picture and got assigned the number "69" in training camp. Hard not to root for the kid. - Chemmy

I don't know if he can get out of the AHL. This would have been the year for him to do it, and instead of giving him a shot, the Leafs signed a 29 year old journeyman out of the KHL. - SkinnyFish

The panel is very split on McKegg's future right now, with half the panel placing him 12th or better (all equal or better than the top vote Connor Brown received, breaking the tie of former Otters for #13), and the other half leaving him in the bottom half of our countdown. McKegg's probably reaching critical mass on his chances of becoming a meaningful prospect going forward for the Maple Leafs, and this year will be very much make-or-break for his chances at the NHL.