Drafted in the third round, 82nd overall in 2013, Carter Verheaghe has bounced all over our top 25 lists. From 23rd on his first, to 11th, now down to 20th. Multiple factors come into play for the IceDogs centre's ranking, but mainly it's the Maple Leafs prospect depth.
Verheaghe is at a crossroads right now, with three options available for his development; the overcrowded Marlies, the ECHL's Solar Bears, or back to the OHL for an overage season.
Verheaghe's been improving points wise each year he's been in the OHL, but has never quite dominated.
This past season Carter was the leader on and off the ice for the IceDogs, I recapped his most recent season here.
For the click averse people his growth in the locker room and on the ice has been noticed by many parties, he was named Captain after the original Captain went down early due to injury.
Here's how the votes went down:
His future is murky, and he's sure to not be signing any long term leases this fall. I spoke with our fearless leader Scott Wheeler about Carter's season and future.
Q: With the Marlies depth going into this season and the front office saying they're using the ECHL as more of a development tool than a placeholder, where do you see Verheaghe ending up? The Marlies, Solar Bears or back to Niagara?
A: With the Leafs moving towards a more tiered development, keen on having players prove themselves at a level before moving onto the next, Verhaeghe might become an ideal candidate to start the year with the Solar Bears. Garret Sparks has shown you can take advantage of the opportunity and approach it as a positive and the Marlies have considerable depth up front.
Even if Carrick and Frattin make the jump to the Leafs, the Marlies will have Nylander, Froese, Gauthier down the middle. Gauthier is better suited to play that complimentary role, whereas it might be a good idea to slot Verhaeghe in prominently if he’s going to have success. He’ll have a better chance of doing that in Orlando, though he has also played the wing.
Q: How did you feel his performance improved/declined/stayed the same this past season?
A: I wouldn’t say he took huge leaps forward, but he definitely progressed in certain areas. He finished 14th in scoring, up from 21st in his post-draft season despite having stabilized his numbers and his two-way game went to a different level than it had in years past, partly because he had to as the team’s captain. After getting off to a slow start from September to November, he was dominant from December onwards, playoffs included.
Hard to complain about a second straight team-MVP award either. He’s an intriguing prospect.
Q: Do you see his drop from 11 to 21 an indication of his development or more of the Leafs new prospect depth?
A: His drop is more a matter of the depth the organization has added. With the additions of Marner, Panik, Kapanen, Marincin, Leipsic, Bracco and co., the Leafs pool of prospects has the most depth it’s had in years — and certainly since the launch of the T25U25 series. I wouldn’t be too worried about it. He’s a big, strong kid, so I’m interested to see how he develops at the professional level this year.
Carter Verheaghe: #20 on the Leafs top 25 prospects. Now it's your say.