Both teams could have scored a handful of goals but it was a battle between the pipes. Andersen had 31 saves and Allen had 39. The Leafs dominated the faceoff circle last night as well as racked up a number of hits but were coughing up the puck a ton, giving up a total of 18 giveaways. Babcock is going to have to get some video going and ensure this doesn’t happen nearly as often.
Rielly buried his second of the year on a rebound, which was good enough to secure the Leafs a single point and helps continue their push into a playoff spot. The Leafs are now 25-17-11 and sitting pretty, but there is a lot of hockey left and no time to take the foot off the gas pedal. As I mention Rielly scored his second goal of the season and wow, it’s hard to believe that’s only his second goal of the season; personally, I expect more production from Morgan as the team matures going forward.
The Leafs will have the night off as they prepare for a big game versus the Sabres on Saturday night. I wonder if Eichel shows up on his scooter for this one.
Now looking at some Maple Leafs prospects, I’ve hand selected three players who I am quite keen on as the Leafs move forward. I left out Kapanen and Nielsen even though I think they are both going to be key pieces for the Leafs of the future. Here are some other names worth looking at:
Jospeh Woll: Boston College (H-East) – 14-9-1 with a 2.49 GAA and.920 save %
The Leafs were wise to draft a goalie considering what they have in the system right now just isn’t going to cut it when Andersen’s contract is up. Who knows how his five years in Toronto go, so why not draft a high quality goalie with some size and stock for the future. Whether or not Woll was the number one goalie the management wanted or not, they got him and he’s doing very well for himself thus far. Keep an eye on Woll as his career progresses forward, there is a good chance he could be our next number one as he is the best goalie prospect for the blue and white.
Jeremy Bracco: Kitchener Rangers (OHL) + Windsor Spitfires (OHL) – totalling 41 games with 20 goals, 44 assists and +11
Bracco started the season off on fire, actually something hotter than fire, that’s how badly he was killing it. He put up 51 points in 27 games playing for the Kitchener Rangers and has slowed a bit since being traded to Windsor scoring only 3 goals in 14 games. It’s nothing to worry about for Jeremy as he settles into his new team and surroundings. Bracco was selected by Hunter in the 2015 draft in the second round (#61), he’s short like Marner (5’9”) but has a more solid frame coming in around 185 pounds. Bracco is yet another highly skilled forward who just may end up skating alongside Matthews in the future. Many consider Bracco the Leafs top prospect, afterall; he did have a 26 game points streak to start the season.
Adam Brooks: Regina Pats (WHL) – 45 games, 30 goals, 60 assists with a whopping +36
Brooks was drafted in the fourth round (92) by the Leafs in 2016 and is the prototypical Hunter draft pick. He’s 5’11” 180 pounds and has an absolute boat load of skill. He really took off last year with 120 points in 72 games followed by 23 points in 12 playoff games. This kid can play! He’s 20 years old and will make the jump to the Marlies next year and if he has a successful season it won’t be long before we see Babcock insert him into the Leafs top 9. He’s likely a couple seasons away before making the jump to the NHL, but he could be a fourth round gem. Yet another Canadian talent that is shredding up the scoresheets and making Hunter look good.
It’s nice to see some high end forwards in the pipeline as the new NHL has a stiff salary cap and with players like Marner, Matthews and Nylander breaking out like they are; the Leafs will need some cheaper salaries to insert into the lineup.
As for goalies; it only takes one bad luck injury and the entire team’s season could be in jeopardy. The more quality goaltenders the Leafs have in the system the better off they will be going forward. I’d have no issues with Toronto drafting a goalie each and every year and see how they blossom over time.
Thanks for reading, have a great weekend.
Go Leafs Go!