CHL Prospect Report
In recent weeks, as various CHL teams continue to play battle,and others fizzle out and fall in their respective playoff runs, a number of top tier CHL prospects have made their way into the pro ranks.
For the Marlies, a troop of CHL players have joined the ranks with the likes of goaltender Garret Sparks, defenseman Morgan Rielly and forwards Sam Carrick and Andrew Crescenzi making the jump at various times. Beyond the transitions of these top young prospects, there remain a number of prospects either currently eliminated or playing in the CHL playoffs. This Tuesday I’ll provide an update and take a look at each of them.
Ryan Rupert: Centre, London Knights, drafted 157th overall in 2012
After being selected in the 6th round by the Maple Leafs, the feisty OHL pest was just that this year, playing alongside many of the leagues elite young players and cruising atop the Western Conference. Rupert registered 46 points in 54 games with the Knights while racking up 75pims and registered 2 lone assists in London’s first round sweep of Saginaw. The nights centre is good on draws and sound defensively while remaining a thorn in the side of opponents on a nightly basis but he doesn’t project to be anything more than a pro 3rd/4th liner, likely at the AHL level.
Tyler Biggs: Right Wing, Oshawa Generals, drafted 22nd overall in 2012
For any Leafs prospect, there’s an amplified spotlight when you’re drafted in the first round. For Tyler, that spotlight has been and will continue to shine brighter in that the Leafs gave up two top 40 selections in order to land the young winger. Biggs is big and mean and showed it in his first year in junior, putting up a respectable 53 points in 60 games while amassing 55pims. Just as London cruised through the first round, Oshawa did too, beating a good Niagara team in 5 games. Biggs was held pointless but was effective down low; he has a long way to go if he hopes to be the top-nine power forward the Leafs are looking for.
Connor Brown: Right Wing, Erie Otters, drafted 156th overall in 2012
This year, on a lowly Erie Otters team, Connor had the pleasure of playing alongside 15-year old, turned 16-year old sensation Connor McDavid. While Brown may have outscored McDavid 69-66 in their 63 games played this season, the two Connors were neck and neck throughout, remaining Erie’s true offensive threats and a dynamic duo. Brown’s an extremely smart, aware young player with a knack for finding people through seems but his footspeed and shot may hinder him if he wants to take that next step. In all likelihood, he’ll have to prove himself at the AHL level before he’ll be on the Leafs radar. An intriguing, often overlooked prospect.
Josh Leivo: Left Wing, Kitchener Rangers, drafted 86th overall in 2011
Often considered on par or superseding Biggs as the Leafs’ top power forward prospect, Leivo lives up to his big frame with his strong play along the boards but he possess and elusive shot, good hands and a decent first step for a big man. There’s reason for Leafs fans to be high on Josh after he registered 73 points in 63 games between Sudbury and Kitchener this season and currently has 7 points through 5 in the playoffs. Kitchener is playing well but will be in tough against London in the second round. Leivo will have to maintain his dominant play.
David Broll: Left Wing, Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds, drafted 152nd overall in 2011
The last of the Leafs’ CHL prospects in the CHL is David Broll, otherwise known as the Brolldozer. While Broll has suited up for the Marlies previously, this season he has yet to don the blue and white. Broll is an effective checker who picks up a surprising number of points by taking everything and anything towards the net. Don’t expect Broll to be anything more than a 4th liner at the next level but he’ll certainly be a fan favourite. Broll had 54 points in 67 games this season while amassing 77 penalty minutes. He was held to 2 assists in the Greyhounds first round exit. Think Leo Komarov, but Canadian, right Don Cherry?
Matt Finn: Defenseman, Guelph Storm, drafted 35th overall in 2012
Many were surprised when this Toronto native slipped out of the first round in last year’s draft but the Guelph Storm captain was a rock, often playing upwards of 30 minutes for Head Coach Scott Walker. Unlike a few of the aforementioned prospects, Finn has a solid ceiling at the next level if he continues to progress as he has. While he may still be a couple of years away, don’t be surprised if you see Finn making waves at an NHL camp in the not-too distant future. An able puck mover whose positioning and heavy shot stand out.
Stuart Percy: Defenseman, Mississauga Steelheads, drafted 28th overall in 2011
Much like counterpart Matt Finn, Percy is a lead by example defenseman who logs big minutes as his team’s captain. While Percy doesn’t possess the heavy shot of Finn, his heads up play has still allowed him to find the back of the net from the blueline, especially on the powerplay. Despite his 45 points in 68 games this season, Percy doesn’t project to be an offensive defenseman at the next level. Look for Percy to be a steady defenseman who makes the smart, crisp plays.