clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

2017 Maple Leafs Top 25 Under 25 recap: ties, almost ties, and suprises

New, comments

Another Top 25 is behind us, and we thank you all for reading.

2017 NHL Draft - Round One Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

With two weeks to go before training camp opens, we’ve wrapped up another month of Top 25 articles, and it’s been one of our most successful yet. With such a large group of players under 25 already playing professionally in the NHL, and more in the AHL and Europe, this year won’t be a list full of player we all look back on and say “Really, we resorted to ranking him?”

Sure there will be some of those players, but we’ve seen a good batch, starting with:

#25A - Rinat Valiev - D
2016/17 Team: Toronto Marlies
Most likely 2017/18 Team: Toronto Marlies
Highest Rank: 15 / Lowest Rank: Unranked

Valiev was less popular than anyone else on the list, and was only in the Top 25 because of two high votes from Species (15) and myself (19). Valiev saw less ice time last season than the year before, and he’ll be fighting again this year.

#25B - Joseph Woll - G
2016/17 Team: Boston College
2017/18 Team: Boston College
Highest Rank: 23 / Lowest Rank: Unranked

Woll will play in college again, so we won’t see him at the rookie tournament or training camp. Pretty consistently voted into the bottom of the list, he was left off by only Gunnar Carlsson this year. Another great season at BC will put him in a rank by himself next year for sure.

#24 - Garret Sparks - G
2016/17 Team: Toronto Marlies
Most likely 2017/18 Team: Toronto Marlies
Highest Rank: 19 / Lowest Rank: Unranked

Sparks had a good season until injuries and social media caught up with him. Extended for two years, it has everyone talking about a back up position for him late this season and beyond.

#23 - Eemeli Rasanen - D
2016/17 Team: Kingston Frontenacs
2017/18 Team: Kingston Frontenacs
Highest Rank: 18 / Lowest Rank: Unranked

The first new member of the Top 25, Rasanen came to the Leafs from the Frontenacs, where abandoned prospect Stephen Desrocher played. He’ll be back in the OHL this upcoming season, and I’ll be at the rink to watch him.

#22 - Yegor Korshkov - RW
2016/17 Team: Lokomotiv Yaroslavl
2017/18 Team: Lokomotiv Yaroslavl
Highest Rank: 17 / Lowest Rank: Unranked

Korshkov has already started playing in the KHL for Lokomotiv, where in four games he has one goal. Korshkov was on pace for an amazing season last year before he missed a chunk of it due to injury, but came back and added three points in 15 playoff games.

#21 - Miro Aaltonen - C/LW
2016/17 Team: Vityaz Poldosk
2017/18 Team: Toronto Marlies
Highest Rank: 15 / Lowest Rank: Unranked

Aaltonen, the Anne of the Leafs system because he makes me go ‘Who?’ every time he’s mentioned, will be joining the Marlies next season after playing in the KHL last year. This was his only eligible year for the Top 25, as he’ll be 25 next summer.

#20 - Dmytro Timashov - W
2016/17 Team: Toronto Marlies
2017/18 Team: Toronto Marlies
Highest Rank: 12 / Lowest Rank: 24

24 points in his first year in the pros is a good start for a prospect who I was hoping would do well. He’ll be expected to step up his game next year and he’ll have every opportunity to prove himself. Timashov was also the first player on the list to be ranked by every voter.

#19 - Andrew Nielsen - D
2016/17 Team: Toronto Marlies
Most likely 2017/18 Team: Toronto Marlies
Highest Rank: 15 / Lowest Rank: Unranked

After going with someone who was ranked by all, we now go back to someone who was left off. Nielsen is a good player, but hasn’t been in talks to move up and fill any gaps on the Maple Leafs defense so he’s most likely to remain on the Marlies for the season.

#18 - Kerby Rychel - W
2016/17 Team: Toronto Marlies
Most likely 2017/18 Team: Toronto Marlies
Highest Rank: 14 / Lowest Rank: 23

Rychel is probably the new AAAA player in the system, now that TJ Brennan is gone. Unless he has a good showing in camp he’ll probably be back on the Marlies, as Josh Leivo is still probably getting the Josh Leivo treatment in the pressbox.

#17 - Calle Rosen - D
2016/17 Team: Vaxjo Lakers HC
Most likely 2017/18 Team: Toronto Marlies
Highest Rank: 13 / Lowest Rank: 21

One of two new defense men signed during the World Juniors, Rosen will be coming over to North America and while given the shot in camp, I think he’ll be playing on an overstuffed Toronto Marlies blueline.

#16 - Andreas Borgman - D
2016/17 Team: HV71
Most likely 2017/18 Team: Toronto Marlies
Highest Rank: 12 / Lowest Rank: 20

The other Swedish D we got finished ahead of his partner, but was favoured by more of the voters. Borgman and Rosen will be linked in a lot of Leafs fans minds, and if they don’t play together, many people will be confused.

#15 - Adam Brooks - C
2016/17 Team: Regina Pats
Most Likely 2017/18 Team: Toronto Marlies
Highest Rank: 10 / Lowest Rank: 22

Brooks was an amazing player last season in the WHL until he was targeted by opponents twice and missed the majority of the playoffs, costing the Pats a chance at the Memorial Cup. Brooks was the first player on the list to be picked as a top 10 player, and his name has been in play for the Leafs 4C slot. He’ll more than likely be a Marlie to start though.

#14 - Nikita Soshnikov - W
2016/17 Team: Toronto Maple Leafs
2017/18 Team: Toronto Maple Leafs
Highest Rank: 10 / Lowest Rank: 22

Soshnikov was a constant on the Leafs fourth line, and played the part well. His year ended in March after injury struck, and he fell out of the top 10 after an underwhelming year.

#13 - Jeremy Bracco - RW
2016/17 Team: Windsor Spitfires
2017/18 Team: Toronto Marlies
Highest Rank: 9 / Lowest Rank: 20

After winning the Memorial Cup in May, Bracco bid farewell to junior hockey and will suit up for the Toronto Marlies this upcoming season. Like Brooks, some were hesitant to rank him too high, as players coming out of junior can see a bit of a step backwards happen - like Timashov - as compared to people's expectations.

#12 - Carl Grundstrom - LW
2016/17 Team: Frolunda HC
2017/18 Team: Frolunda HC
Highest Rank: 9 / Lowest Rank: 15

Grundstrom is heading back to Sweden to play this season with Frolunda, and Katya will be watching him for the European Report she’ll be putting out on Sundays again. Grundstrom played in a few Marlies playoff games, chipping in three goals, one assist in six games.

#11 - Andreas Johnsson - LW
2016/17 Team: Toronto Marlies
2017/18 Team: Toronto Marlies
Highest Rank: 9 / Lowest Rank: 14

Creeping slowly towards the top 10 players, Johnsson had an excellent year with the Toronto Marlies last season. Expected to be a top player with the Marlies next season, he’ll have the chance to be an injury call up for the Leafs.

#10 - Travis Dermott - D
2016/17 Team: Toronto Marlies
Most Likely 2017/18 Team: Toronto Marlies
Highest Rank: 9 / Lowest Rank: 13

Travis Dermott’s name has been thrown around as a possible addition to the Toronto Maple Leafs next season, but with the top 6 D being NHL stalwarts, his options could be logging top 2 time in the AHL or riding the pine in the NHL.

#9 - Josh Leivo - RW
2016/17 Team: Toronto Maple Leafs press box
Most Likely 2017/18 Team: Toronto Maple Leafs press box
Highest Rank: 8 / Lowest Rank: 15

Leivo was the forgotten player last season when Frank Corrado got all the attention for not playing originally called “injured” to start the season out of training camp. Leivo only got in to just 13 Leafs games, but scored 10 points in that brief playing window. Could he do more next year or will he be the biggest Leafs super fan again?

#8 - Connor Carrick - D
2016/17 Team: Toronto Maple Leafs
2017/18 Team: Toronto Maple Leafs
Highest Rank: 6 / Lowest Rank: 9

The first player we’ve seen be ranked entirely in the top 10, Carrick was an NHL regular all season and will be back in the big leagues next season. Deemed worth taking on two years of Brooks Laich salary, Carrick has proven his worth to the team in that deal.

#7 - Timothy Liljegren - D
2016/17 Team: Rogle BK
2017/18 Team: Niagara IceDogs (please?)
Highest Rank: 5 / Lowest Rank: 9

Perhaps he’ll be in the AHL with the Marlies, or back in the SHL loaned to a better team than Rogle is expected to be, with a faint shot at the Maple Leafs, the newest kid we’ll have to watch will be a fun one to check out all year.

#6 - Connor Brown - RW
2016/17 Team: Toronto Maple Leafs
2017/18 Team: Toronto Maple Leafs
Highest Rank: 5 / Lowest Rank: 7

He scored 20 goals and still couldn’t convince people he was the real deal. Dropping out of the top 5 after his debut season with the Maple Leafs, Brown is one of the most dependable players we’ll see in Toronto, even if he won’t be a flashy superstar.

#5 - Kasperi Kapanen - W
2016/17 Team: Toronto Marlies
Most Likely 2017/18 Team: Toronto Marlies
Highest Rank: 5 / Lowest Rank: 7

Kapanen barely beat out Brown for the first top 5 spot in this years list, but the Marlies winger has given so many voters hope for his future talent, he was put above the 20 goal rookie. Most likely a top line player for the Marlies next season, there’s a chance he earns a Leafs spot in camp.

#4 - Morgan Rielly - D
2016/17 Team: Toronto Maple Leafs
2017/18 Team: Toronto Maple Leafs
Highest Rank: 4 / Lowest Rank: 4

Rielly was first on the list once, after Phil Kessel aged out, and before Auston Matthews showed up, but he’s been a consistent top 4 player for a while now. Signed to a great contract for the length of the Leafs ELC window, Rielly will be a consistent Maple Leafs for years to come.

#3 - Mitch Marner - RW
2016/17 Team: Toronto Maple Leafs
2017/18 Team: Toronto Maple Leafs
Highest Rank: 2 / Lowest Rank: 3

Marner had an incredible rookie season in the NHL, and will continue to improve at the highest level, skipping the AHL entirely after winning the Memorial Cup with the London Knights in 2016. Marner will be fighting with Nylander for years for the #2 spot behind Auston Matthews.

#2 - William Nylander - C/RW
2016/17 Team: Toronto Maple Leafs
2017/18 Team: Toronto Maple Leafs
Highest Rank: 2 / Lowest Rank: 3

Nylander is the other half of the 2nd overall fight, and judging by article response, he’s the favourite for #2, but it’s close among everyone from our voters to readers and pundits. It’s a nice problem to have not being able to decide clearly who is number two on the list.

#1 - Auston Matthews - C
2016/17 Team: Toronto Maple Leafs
2017/18 Team: Toronto Maple Leafs
Highest Rank: 1 / Lowest Rank: 1

A unanimous vote to place Matthews at #1. It's nice for the #1 choice to be easy and make up for the difficulty with 2nd place.


It’s a great list this year, much better than some previous ones. We’ll have a post up with all those numbers you people love to dissect. Thanks again for reading, and we’ll be back next summer.