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Maple Leafs Top 25 under 25: week 2 recap & community vote reveal

The first two weeks of the 2018 Top 25 has been fun so far, and we’re just getting started with the good stuff.

Aaron Bell/OHL Images

Woah! You all seem to be loving this year’s Top 25, and looking at the stats it’s the new faces to the team and the country that have your attention. I hope everyone sticks around when we get to those over-exposed guys like Mitchell Marner and Connor Brown.

Here’s who we had ranked #20-17

#20 - Semyon Der-Arguchintsev
Highest Rank: #18 - Hardev, Brigstew, Kevin
Lowest Rank: #24 - Arvind, Katya

One of the newest Leafs prospects is also the first player to get a vote from every contributor. He’ll be suiting up for the Peterborough Petes so I hope they’ve stocked up on letters for jerseys.

SDA is obviously nowhere near Mitch Marner’s class. But it’s that playmaking skillset that makes him so exciting, and the classic boom or bust pick. As opposed to a jack-of-all-trades player who doesn’t much wow you but doesn’t have obvious weaknesses, SDA makes plays at an elite level and has no physical game to speak of. His shot is fine, but he doesn’t take as many shots as you might like, being a very pass-first player. An increase in shot and goal totals might be expected as the Petes lean more on SDA next season, since Korostelev (KHL) and DeNoble (ECHL) are now gone.

Your comments:

I’m sort of torn on this guy. He seems to have excellent vision and passing ability, however he’s only slightly above average skating and he has ton of second assists. I think he really benefited from playing with Korostelev, who carried the Petes for large portions of the season.

I know he is the youngest guy in the draft, but there were a lot of interesting younger guys who went later (with equivalent or better production) – Blade Jenkins (5th round) and Dmitri Zavgorodny (7th) come to mind.
-The Norris

He does kind of resemble a poor mans Marner. Some of those passes he made look easy are foolish. With his size and Youth add too the fact his team was mediocre at best. I can see him putting up a PPG or better this year, if he was in next years draft i bet he goes 2nd or 3rd round. Probably to small for a scout to take him in the first. He reminds me of an alternate universe Debrincat but instead a scoring a bunch he sets up a bunch. Like his last name too , if only to mess with the announcers.
-Jeremy Valley

#19 - Eemeli Räsänen
Highest Rank: #16 - Species
Lowest Rank: #22 - Kevin

Look up, wayyyyyyy up and you’ll find the Maple Leafs friendly giant. Of course you’ll also have to look wayyyyyy east because he’s left the OHL for the KHL this upcoming season.

The knock on him has traditionally been his skating. This is valid, yet overstated. He didn’t want to be a hockey player, he wanted to play soccer, and when he grew too tall to be anything but a goalkeeper, he switched. For a Finn, it’s shocking to see how rudimentary his skating is, but he’s not horrible, and the idea that he is totally incapable is largely based on a very old scouting report that is years and many hours with Barb Underhill out of date.

Your comments:

Didn’t have Rasanen ranked as I was hoping for a break through year for him but unfortunately that didn’t happen. Didn’t see a whole lot of improvements from the previous year and thus he got knocked down and off the list in favour of the newer shinier toys like Durzi and SDA.

Looks like a smart move to head to Jokerit and the KHL and his new head coach seems to have a nice track record with younger players. If he can become that defensive rock on a pairing that allows his partner to take more changes offensively I’d enjoy that.

I like that he had the maturity to know that it was time for a new challenge. The speed, size of opposing players in the O would probably not allow him to develop as needed, in the sens that it is too easy to rely on your reach, size and not develop other aspects of your game. In the KHL, everyone will be 2 steps faster, and Rasanen will need to be too. Even practicing with those guys daily will develop him further. Will it be enough? Probably won’t know for 3-4 years.

#18 - Sean Durzi
Highest Rank: #10 - Hardev
Lowest Rank: #22 - Annie, Omar

A Leafs fan? Awesome. Now he just needs to get traded to Niagara to make it a perfect pick.

I see Durzi as a solid, though not spectacular, second-round pick at this point. It’s always nice to add talented right-shooting defenceman to the pipeline, and he ranked 13th on my list as a result. While recent draft picks typically have a greater chance of being an absolute bust compared to many of the older players on our Top 25 Under 25, I think Durzi can make a more significant impact if he does make the NHL.

Your comments:

Durzi looks like a solid pick. I wouldnt be too concerned about his injury because, for instance, reilly had a bad injury in his draft year and has hardly had any time lost since turning pro (knock on wood).

Durzi’s offensive instincts, passing, skating, vision, shot, all seem decent, and likely pro worthy. Like to see him on the growlers/marlies this fall.

Also, i would like to see sandin on the marlies this autumn. The buds need to enhance this guy’s development cuz he’s a future nhl dman. With these two guys, the buds defence in a couple of years:

Reilly + liljegren
Dermott + ozhiganov
Sandin + durzi/zaitsev

Was hoping for Calen Addison with this pick, which funny enough Pittsburgh drafted him with the next pick, and was initially disappointed, but after looking into Durzi a little more I don’t mind it. Seems to have all of the natural tools it takes to be a solid mobile d-man and will be a matter of seeing if he can adjust to the quicker and bigger players as he works up to the pros.

Had him ranked slightly lower (20) simply due to age factor; which is why I had SDA slightly higher.

#17 - Jeremy Bracco
Highest Rank: #14 - Arvind, Kevin
Lowest Rank: #22 - Species, Brigstew

Bracco dropped three spots, but we still have high hopes for him. All I want is to see him score more next year with the Marlies.

Overall Bracco had what we could call an average season in the AHL last year. Among rookies he placed 31st in scoring, with six goals and 26 assists. Four other players scored 32 points, but Jeremy did it in only 50 games. At 0.64 points per game he was 15th for rookies in the AHL. In his final 12 games he went on a huge tear, scoring 11 of those points to end the season. Now I don’t mean to wow you with fancy numbers, but when his regular season ended, his playing days were almost over for the year. The Marlies relied heavily on more experienced players, letting Bracco play in just four games over the next two months of playoffs, and he scored only one goal.

Your comments:

Bracco performed about exactly how I assumed he would at the AHL level in his first season.

His 32 points don’t exactly jump off the page at you, but his 0.64 PPG is pretty respectable all things considered. He put up 13 points on the power play, which put him in a tie with Kerby Rychel for 3rd most on the team (behind Mueller and Johnsson) and he had the second most assists with the man advantage. To be honest, we shouldn’t be shocked that he was one of the top producers for the Marlies on the PP. I think we all assumed coming in that it would be his bread and butter.

His first step into the pro game wasn’t a stumble by any stretch, and while he has things to work on, he’ll have time to figure them out in the AHL. There’s almost no rush to get him into the NHL any time in the near future. As long as he continues to get stronger and he continues to figure out the AHL he’s doing just fine in my eyes. This season will be a big test for him as a pro, however. With Kapanen and Johnsson making the jump to the NHL (we assume full time), Bracco’s role will expand. If he continues to improve and can take a step towards being a top line AHL player he’s right on track to being in line for NHL duty some time in 2019/2020.

I dunno. I’m a lot down on Bracco these days. Less because of the low scoring numbers (which can be rationalized pretty easily) than by his slotting on the Marlies. 4th line. Healthy scratched during the playoffs. Grundstrom and Engvall come over and instantly get thrown higher in the lineup than him. I don’t just think that’s Keefe. If they really thought he had an important Leafs future, they would have wanted him to get that playoff experience. Like Liljegren. He was going to be in there no matter what. I just think there’s a lot of red flags here.

And now, your numbers 20 - 17.

#20 - Pierre Engvall
Highest Rank: #7 (1)
Lowest Rank: #25 (15)
Ranked by: 354/582 voters

Our #25 was much more popular on the community vote, receiving votes from 7th to 25th.

#19 - Eemeli Räsänen
Highest Rank: #1 (1) - He reads our site!
Lowest Rank: #25 (21)
Ranked by: 370/582 voters

We truly are a hive mind here at PPP as both groups of voters had him at #19.

#18 - Trevor Moore
Highest Rank: #7 (1)
Lowest Rank: #25 (11)
Ranked by: 378/582 voters

Moore got moore votes than anyone else so far. Seventh was his highest spot, and he got at least one vote for every number after that except for 8.

#17 - Dmytro Timashov
Highest Rank: #2 (1)
Lowest Rank: #25 (16)
Ranked by: 398/582 voters

Timashov got 20 more votes than Trevor Moore, and a second place rank, which was clearly one of those “I”m just doodling around to get me a bobblehead” voters. Speaking of, check your emails, check your spam folders. One of the winners isn’t answering me. I’ll re-draw on Monday if I get no response.

Week two is in the books, and you may be asking “What about #16?” Well, that’s coming up next week. We got lucky and had a tie farther along the series which gave us the opportunity to take a long weekend.

#16 is comes out on Monday, and it’s someone we need improvement from because it’s a position of weakness in the Leafs depth.