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Maple Leafs top 25 under 25: Week 4 recap and community vote

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The higher we go the more we all get along, isn’t that great?

Buffalo Sabres v Toronto Maple Leafs

We’re almost in the home stretch, only six more players to announce next week and oh boy it sure is a mystery about who they could possibly be. Here are the players we ranked from #11-7 in this years top 25 vote.

#11 - Andreas Borgman
Highest rank: #10 - Katya
Lowest Rank: #15 - seldo
Community Rank: #11

Borgman was pretty much a 11/12 guy for everyone except Katya and I. He got a lot of NHL time last season, but to me he’s never going to move past the bottom pair role, and that’s bottom 15 stuff for me.

He may not have top level skills in any of those areas to make him a good top-4 option, but personally speaking I think he could make a good third pairing defenseman that won’t be easy pickings for the other team. At 23 years old he doesn’t really have that much more room to grow, and it will be a question of how he recovers from whatever mystery injury kept him out of the AHL playoffs down the stretch.

While in the NHL, he had 3 goals and 8 assists in 48 games — the point totals might not like that big in total, but considering the number of games played and his role/ice time, he did pretty well.

Your Borgman comments

I like to think Borg still has upside, what with the injuries, new ice surface at a more position-based… uhh… position (nailed it), etc.

Then again, I could just enjoy the way he hits things and be very biased as a result – and you have to admit, sometimes it appears as though the man were composed of depleted uranium.
-ninomite!

I probably had him too low at ~15 but his mysterious end-of-season injuries spooked me. It’s going to be an interesting training camp battle for the #6D and #7D spots on the Leafs. My guess is Carrick, then Borgman, and the rest to the Marlies. Being the #7D still almost always means 30+ NHL games too, so it wouldn’t be purgatory.
-PumpedTires

#10 - Connor Carrick
Highest Rank: #9 - Species1967
Lowest Rank: #13 - Hardev
Community Rank: #10

Back to back matching ranks between the writers and readers, what a world we live in!

The eye test likes Carrick less than the numbers do, to me. He’s very fond of firing off not-super-effective shots from the right point, although he’s moderated this more in the last year. He’s feisty and energetic, sometimes to a fault. He can play the power play, but he has no realistic prospect of doing so for the Leafs, given that Morgan Rielly and Jake Gardiner have the two available defence jobs on the PP and that Nikita Zaitsev is the obvious first understudy. Carrick has made a couple of memorable mistakes in his own zone with muffin passes into the middle of the ice; isolated mistakes are not a fair thing to judge him on, but they probably didn’t do him any favours in his quest to stay in the lineup. It’s possible to see why he might not totally earn the confidence of a coach. He also had one run before this year where he rode the Jake Gardiner Corsi Train to great results; Carrick has done well without him, too, but Gardiner has goosed fancy stats for his partners before.

Your Carrick Comments

Carrick is no doubt an NHL caliber 3rd pairing defender who could lock up a roster spot on a number of the currently rebuilding or transitioning NHL teams. I view him as a Leafs placeholder, a player used as he has been used until a suitable and more effective replacement RHD can be found or developed. At that point he will probably be traded, when to no one’s surprise he will find himself on a non contender anchoring a 3rd pairing. It doesn’t look like it will happen this year but it might. Timothy Liljegren is clearly not ready to usurp him but Justin Holl might have a chance out of camp. Then there are also the unknowns in righties: Igor Ozhiganov and Jesper Lindgren with extreme long shot Jordan Subban not completely out of the realm of possibility.
-GCMGome

If Carrick doesn’t kill penalties I don’t think he plays much. Realistically you want 4 defensemen you trust for the PK. Not 3 like the Leafs used last season (Hainsey, Zaitsev and Polák). I don’t think Babcock trusts Gardiner on the kill and I don’t think he wants to play Rielly there. Those 2 play PP and 5v5. I think Polák got in the lineup last season solely because he was gud on the penalty kill. Didn’t Babcock refer to him as an elite penalty killer or some hogwash like that? Though to be fair Polák did spend so much time hemmed in his own zone and randomly icing the puck that I guess he had a lot of practice at PK skills.Sorry I digress, if Carrick’s PK training works out and he convinces Babcock that he is useful shorthanded then I think he is in, otherwise I think he is in for a long and frustrating season….I kind of get this, the diffence between the best and works penalty kill last season was 34 goals (SJ 34 PPGA vs. Mon 68 PPGA). You really want to be near the top, because the 3rd pair on defense is not making up 30 goals for you. That said TB was second last so maybe I’m overthinking this…
-I_am_I

#9 - Connor Brown
Highest Rank: #5 - Seldo
Lowest Rank: #11 - Hardev
Community Vote: #8

I hope I didn’t come across as in not liking Brown. I like him, I liked him in Erie, and the Marlies. He’s a very safe guy who doesn’t give me a lot to talk about is all.

He’s a skilled shooter, a great skater, and a safe, reliable player (10 penalty minutes last season). Connor Brown is a player that could be in the Leafs’ future for a very long time. He’s not flashy, he’s not a showcase player. He’s constant, reliable, and...there. Connor Brown is what people mean when they say “lunch pail” player. He’s the kind of player that Bruce Springsteen would write a song about.

Your Brown Comments

Big fan of Brown, big fan. Versatile, you can use him where ever you need him (though as many have pointed out, he’s more useful in some places than others). He’s cheap enough, good enough and hard worky enough and the best part is that he is interchangeable and replaceable.

He’s the kind of guy you can go deep into the playoffs with and he comes out with that dave bolland value. He’s the big goal/play type people remember while not being a core keeper type.

He’ll be of great use to us until the Leafs need to clear cap and then he’ll get us some good value at the draft or deadline or some such.

I had him at 10
-JaredFromLondon

#8 - Andreas Johnsson
Highest Rank: #7 - Fulemin, Annie
Lowest Rank: #9 - Seldo, Omar, Hardev
Community Rank: #7

Johnsson was #8 on half the lists and then #7/9 on the others. He was destined to be in this spot.

The question everyone is now asking is where does Johnsson fit in the Maple Leafs lines out of training camp? Our whole staff ranked him in the top 10 of Maple Leafs Prospects under 25 years old, the first on our list to acheive that this season. So he’s got to make his way permanently in to the Leafs lineup this season, right?

There’s one little issue. Or, more like two or three.

Johnsson now finds himself in a messy race to join the third or fourth line of Maple Leafs wingers, competing against both Josh Leivo, and Tyler Ennis.

Your Johnsson comments

I really like the idea of a Kadri, Kapanen, Johnsson third line

…feasting on all those bad matchups created by or overwhelming 1A and 1B lines. With the number off weak third and fourth lines Kadri’s line is likely to see this season I can easily picture Kadri netting another 30+ goals and the two young wingers each picking up around 20 apiece.

The great thing is that there really doesn’t seem to be any wrong answer here.
-Momus3

#7 - Timothy Liljegren
Highest Rank: #5 - Hardev, Bigstew
Lowest Rank: #9 - Arvind, Annie
Community Vote: #9

Hardev and Brigstew ranked him ahead of an NHL like Kappy? YOU MONSTERS

Liljegren is the only player in the top 10 of this ranking who does not have a game of NHL experience under his belt, and he’s less of a sure thing as a result. However, his mobility and neutral zone defence provides him with a good chance of being a NHL player in at least some capacity, and he certainly plays a premium position. He did not look out of place in the AHL as a teenager, and he’s usually one of the better players on the ice when he plays for Sweden in International tournaments.

Your Liljegren Comments

My big question about Liljegren is how quickly we should expect him in the NHL. We know that defenders generally take longer to be ready but I know that several high-end players like Rielly, Doughty, Hedman, and Subban stepped in after one or two years so it feels like high-impact defenders shouldn’t need more than two years of seasoning.

If he’s not ready for the NHL a year from now, should we be worried?
-Wallin Apologist

Here are the community rankings for #11-7, and they line up pretty well. Buzz buzz.

First, the 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
#16 - Adam Brooks
#15 - Jeremy Bracco
#14 - Calle Rosen
#13 - Rasmus Sandin
#12 - Carl Grunstrum

#11 - Andreas Borgman
Highest Rank: #2 (1)
Lowest Rank: #24 (2)
Ranked by: 493/582 voters

#10 - Connor Carrick
Highest Rank: #4 (1)
Lowest Rank: #25 (4)
Ranked By: 486/582 voters

#9 - Timothy Liljegren
Highest Rank: #1 (1)
Lowest Rank: #25 (1)
Ranked by: 520/582 voters

#8 - Connor Brown
Highest Rank: #1 (1)
Lowest Rank: #20 (1)
Ranked by: 526/582 voters

#7 - Andreas Johnsson
Highest Rank: #2 (2)
Lowest Rank: #23 (3)
Ranked by: 527/582 voters

The deeper we go, the more votes they’ve gotten. This past group was the closest in matching our rankings, if not by the same number then in the same group.

Thanks for reading everyone, and let’s get ready for the top 6 to be revealed next week!