30 in 30 Toronto Maple Leafs

Jason Banks

2016-07-28

Toronto Maple Leafs Logo - courtesy: nhl.com

As the rebuild continues for the famed franchise, the 2016-17 season might be the most important and intense season since the early 90s. Much of the foundation has been laid, now the bricks get to be put in place. While 13 prospects skated in several games last year to get a taste of what they are working towards, no less than seven prospects will be expected to make the jump to become full time NHLers. With that amount of graduation, the system is in need of major shakeups and will provide several opportunities for new names.

 

 

Draft Recap

In the 2016 Entry Draft the strategy was a much different one than employed by other organizations or in previous years. With 11 selections management selected with purpose and direction especially after adding the top prize of the weekend. A trio of the selections will be on the older side of 20 years when training camp starts, a statistic that is rather unheard of in today’s game. Five of the selections are already playing in pro hockey and two more may join them or return for an overage junior season. It was clear, that the focus was shorter term in the fact that they wanted players that will grow with the current crop of talent, rather than just adding 18 year olds that they hope will mature and become useful.

 

Auston Matthews - photo courtesy: ca.news.yahoo.com

1st Round (1st Overall) – Auston Matthews – C – ZSC, Swiss League

The centerpiece of the franchise is now in place and will have huge expectations by both fans an management, but expect a couple seasons before he reaches maximum effectiveness. Matthews has a massive tool bag of skills and qualities that are possessed by very few in the game, and full maturity mentally and physically aren’t far away for the almost 19 year old. Mike Babcock has been on record of saying Matthews will start as the third line center in the fall, but this holds little significance as it can be expected that he will see the most minutes of the regulars, as he should be found on most powerplays and the odd penalty kill. The future of a Nylander-Matthews-Marner line is pretty exciting for fans and fantasy player