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Maple Leafs Top 25 under 25: Week 3 recap and community vote reveal

This week was, for sure, the most controversial.

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Christian Bonin |

What a week we had. If you’re not venturing down into the comments, well, good for you! If you’re the adventurous type you were in for a treat. Sandin is too high! Grundstrom is the next JVR! Cats are marrying dogs! It’s anarchy!

Here’s who we ranked #16-12:

#16 - Adam Brooks
Highest Rank: #13 - Brigstew, Fulemin
Lowest Rank: #20 - Kevin

Also known as ‘Prairie Jesus’ for his scoring prowess in the WHL, Brooks moved on to the AHL in an underwhelming fashion. He has plenty of time to work on his game with centre depth as the Maple Leafs have John Tavares, Auston Matthews, and Nazem Kadri in the NHL.

Brooks is a sneakily effective player. He isn’t necessarily as flashy as his WHL boxcars would suggest, and it takes a bit of looking to see what he contributes. He had a quick release that enabled him to beat junior goalies and that he’ll hopefully get more use out of next year, and he can make a smart pass (quite a lot of them).

Your comments:

Okay. Just gonna say that watching the Marlies down the stretch, Brooks was one of their key contributors. Given what he showed a 0.5PPG baseline in the AHL is to be expected as he continues his recovery from the double whammy of concussion + mono. That he was even able to play pro hockey (for the first time) at all this year is an achievement. Come 2018/19, given meaningful PP time I can see him easily surpassing 20G and 50P and being in the Top-3 scoring for the Marlies. Despite the lack of organizational depth down the middle (well, beyond the Top-3 in the depth chart, obviously), I don’t know if, given Babcock’s reticence to use youngsters in 4th line roles, Brooks will see time with the Leafs. With that said, I certainly see that happening next season before almost any other forward on the 2018 Marlies (other than Johnsson, of course). He developed great chemistry with Trevor Moore and while Moore received the accolades, most of his even-strength scoring was facilitated by Brooks.

2018/19 is a big season for Brooks but he has shown a capacity to overcome challenges and slay all the internal and external doubters about his game. I am confident that given full health and adequate opportunity he will rise to the occasion.
-Becca on Hockey

Can’t remember where I saw it on here so I can’t credit them, but someone gave the comparison of Adam Brooks to Connor Brown which made sense to me. They both put up good numbers in junior but low draft picks, not much expected of them and had/have a lot more doubters than believers. Brown of course had a better first year with the Marlies, but assuming that Brooks will stay healthy and finish with around 50-60 points this season he could follow a similar path to Brown if he keeps improving on his defense and works hard.

#15 - Trevor Moore
Highest Rank: #12 - Hardev
Lowest Rank: #24 - Brigstew

The player with the biggest gap in votes from #24 to #12 Moore is on the cusp of the NHL right now. He has a chance to get onto the fourth line in camp or perhaps later in the season.

At the end of the day, Moore hasn’t shown the same high-end skill as a player like William Nylander, or solid, dependable middle-six production like Johnsson and Kasperi Kapanen, but he does have a particular set of skills that lend themselves well to the Leafs’ (and especially Mike Babcock’s) style. Moore can skate like the wind, he is a zone entry machine through the neutral zone and has been one of the Marlies’ most dependable wingers when it comes to defending the lead late in games. In the playoffs, Moore would often jump up from the fourth line and replace Timashov with Mueller and Ben Smith when the Marlies were defending the opposing team’s push with the net empty.

Your comments

I dunno. I think we’re starting to see a pattern in what kind of game the Leafs/Marlies are looking for in their young, graduating players. It’s not that Kapanen, Johnsson and Dermott play the same “style” per se. But there’s a certain tenacity and pace they seem to all play with. Moore seems to have that. I could see an eventual 4th line of him, Brooks and Brown. Small, but relentless with a little bit of finish. Brooks is the furthest away. But I think he can get there.

The top end of our system is light years better than it used to be, and the depth end of our system represents at the very least an enormous and positive shift philosophy and is thus light years better than it used to be, even if the potential impact is still small. The middle of our system is… pretty good.

#14 - Calle Rosén
Highest Rank: #13 - Annie, Species
Lowest Rank: #17 - Kevin

Rosén didn’t play a lot of NHL games but his role in the Marlies playoff run boosted him in our rankings for sure.

Obviously, we can’t credit him with points he didn’t score, but it goes to show that the differences in scoring between non-elite AHL defencemen are quite small. The safest takeaway from this is that at 5v5, Rosen wasn’t a great driver of individual offense (the same result holds if you look at all points as opposed to primary points). Guys who were elite offensively include Travis Dermott and Justin Holl, who each rank in the top 25 in the AHL in primary points per game and points per game. Martin Marincin shows up in the top 25 for points per game as well.

Your comments

The thing that stands out for me watching Calle Rosen on the Marlies this year was how much he shot the puck from the blue line, whether he was on the power play or 5 on 5 he just loved to shoot, which I don’t have a big problem with, I have always felt that when you shoot the puck on the net good things can happen. Strangely, with Rosen, a lot of the time this did not seem to be the case. I kept waiting for his shots to go in or result in at least a good scoring chance, but until the playoffs this year that did not happen a lot. He came with a certain amount of expectation when the Leafs were able to sign him but early in the season watching him play I was wondering what all the hype was about, but in the playoffs he turned his game up several notches and his shots started to go in and good things started happening when he shot on net. Is this the real Rosen, or will he go back to being an obviously skilled offensive defenseman who for whatever reason has a problem putting points on the board. As far as his NHL future goes I agree with what most everyone else seems to be saying, he may have a shot someday on a team that is looking for a fast skating defenseman who can run a second power play, but his opportunity with the Leafs is severely limited. The Leafs do not need any left shooting offensive defensemen, and there are too many defensemen on the Marlies who play a better defensive game then Rosen. If he has a future in the NHL, he will need to continue to play as he did in the playoffs next season, but it will be with another team.

#13 - Carl Grundström
Highest Rank: #10 - Omar
Lowest Rank: #18 - elseldo

Either the next big thing or just another guy, Grundström caused a lot of stir among readers.

Grundström is listed as a 6’0”, 194 lb winger who shoots left but can play either LW or RW. He is a goal scorer that loves to shoot and score around the net, work hard on the forecheck with some good physicality. He’s also said to be a very good skater with an NHL ready shot according to Scott Wheeler. However, he’s never really generated many assists, which leads one to think he isn’t much of a passer or play maker that will need someone on his line to play that role for him.

Your comments

I’ve been high on Grundstrom and Engvall for a while. Hyman is 3 years to a UFA and Grundstrom is 2 years to a RFA without arbitration rights. That means if Grundstrom when ready for full-time NHL duty, Hyman can be sold as a rental.

So JVR. Not a great skater, good hands, not defensive minded. At 20, would you have predicted he would be good for 30 / 35 goals? Is he worth 6 mil a year? Is it absurd to think grundstrom could be better than jvr (more complete player) given his body of work so far?

#12 - Rasmus Sandin
Highest Rank: #8 - Hardev
Lowest Rank: #16 - Fulemin

The 2018 first rounder premiered pretty high on the list, and he’s playing in the SHL right now getting ready for Leafs camp.

He shares many similarities to Travis Dermott, who already looks like a solid second-pairing option. Like Dermott, he would be hard-pressed to earn powerplay time in an organization with multiple high-end offensive defencemen, and he’s not quite big enough to be your prototypical star penalty killer. However, he’s well-rounded enough to play in any-situation, and I will happily take any player who is consistently one of the best players on the ice, even if they aren’t a superstar.

Your comments

I imagine most who had him in this area were doing likewise. 10-12 was pretty fair no matter what for him. I found Liljegren much tougher to place because I’m really unsure of whether he can be a top pair blue liner or not and the difference between the two is at least 3 positions in these rankings IMO (he ended up 7th for me if anyone cares, just ahead of Johnsson).

Of course, my favourite thing about these rankings is seeing everybody else’s criteria and hoping from that we get a good read of where these guys actually are.
-Capital of Peru

So Sandin had 45 points in 51 games in his draft year in the OHL. Good for .88 PPG.

Dougie Hamilton had .86 PPG in his draft year.

Sandin’s comparable is Dougie Hamilton.

It will be interesting to see where he lands next year. Rögle has an spot open for him. SSM could use him since Timmins is unlikely to be returning as an overage player.

I’ve been on the draft this guy pretty early on and I was really surprised he fell to us like he did. I’ve seen him once – ultra efficient in everything he does, excellent first pass, good defensive use of his stick, proper positioning in all situations, etc. The only knock is the lack of physical game, which will likely develop as he grows.
-The Norris

Now, we see who you, the readers, ranked #16-12. But first, a recap of your previous ranks:

#25 - Semyon Der-Arguchintsev
#24 - Mason Marchment
#23 - Yegor Korshkov
#22 - Sean Durzi
#21 - Joseph Woll
#20 - Pierre Engvall
#19 - Eemeli Rasanen
#18 - Trevor Moore
#17 - Dmytro Timashov

Now, your picks for this week’s rankings:

#16 - Adam Brooks
Highest Rank: #1 (1) - Adam! You read our site! Thank you for voting!
Lowest Rank: #25 (19)
Ranked by: 432/582 voters

We matched up again. Just a big ol’ hive mind around here.

#15 - Jeremy Bracco
Highest Rank: #3 (1)
Lowest Rank: #25 (9)
Ranked by: 463/582 voters

Ranked 17th by PPP, the readers have a bit more faith in Bracco’s progression.

#14 - Calle Rosén
Highest Rank: #6 (3)
Lowest Rank: #25 (3)
Ranked by: 486/582 voters

Buzz buzz goes the hive mind.

#13 - Rasmus Sandin
Highest Rank: #1 (3)
Lowest Rank: #25 (7)
Ranked by: 490/582 voters

The first overall got three first overall picks. This wasn’t a guessing game about where he was drafted, eh?

#12 - Carl Grundström
Highest Rank: #6 (1)
Lowest Rank: #24 (1)
Ranked by: 488/582 voters

Grundström and Sandin were flipped by the readers, and Grundström was the first not to be ranked #25. While he had fewer votes than Sandin those #25 ranks gave Carl the edge to take #12.

Next week we get into the top 10. Is there anyone you haven’t seen that you’d like to see in #11 just out side the top 10? Can’t wait to see how you all react to that player who just didn’t make it.

Remember, you can check out all of the Top 25 articles from day one to today in the Top 25 group, and also check your spam folders, eh?