Leafs prospects update – 2016-17 thus far


    Ontario Hockey League (OHL)

    Nikita Korostelev, RW – Sarnia – 6’1″ 201 – 2015 7th round (185th overall)

    Korostelev has points in all but 3 games thus far, totaling 28 (15G, 13A) in 21 matches. He’s been named the team’s player of the week 3 times, represented team Russia against Team OHL (0 pts), and helped Sarnia to the CHL’s top-10 weekly rankings 3 times, reaching as high as 9th. He’s 2nd on the team in points, and is t-8th and t-13th in OHL goals scored and total points, respectively.

    He also gets very excited about what he posts on Twitter.


    Jeremy Bracco, RW – Kitchener – 5’10” 190 – 2015 2nd round (61st overall)

    The guy is straight fire. 40 points (16G, 24A), recording at least one in all 19 games. If you’re looking for a highlight reel, we recommend his 5-point night vs Guelph, but any game footage will impress.

    Bracco was the OHL and CHL Player of the Week for the week ending October 16 where he recorded 13 points (4G, 9A) in 4 games. His 10 points in 4 games this week  will put him in the conversation to win it again is good enough for the OHL honour again.

    He leads Kitchener in points and is 3rd in the OHL behind Erie’s tandem of Alex DeBrincat and Taylor Raddysh.

    Nicolas Mattinen, D – London 6’5″ 215 – 2016 6th round (179th overall)

    Colossal defencemen don’t typically put up points so don’t be too discouraged by his 2 assist in 20 games. He’s a stay-at-home defenceman and uses his size to his advantage, according to the OHL writers.

    Dale Hunter likes him and his (presumably) 100+ MPH shot, which is good enough for us.

    JJ Piccinich, RW – London – 6’0″ 185 – 2014 4th round (103rd overall)

    Mattinen’s teammate and new captain, the over-ager is improving on last year’s point-per-game pace with 27 (10G, 17A) in 20 games. He’s 3rd on the Knights behind only Janne Kuokkanen and Cliff Pu (hehe).

    “JJ has been an incredible leader of this team since he stepped foot on the ice here at Budweiser Gardens,” said Knights’ General Manager, Rob Simpson. “He is always the first one to step up for the team, both on the ice and in the community.  JJ exemplifies all of the qualities that make up a great leader and we are happy to have him lead this year’s team.”

    Keaton Middleton, D – Saginaw – 6’5″ 235 – 2016 4th round (101st overall)

    The giant has 5 points (1G, 4A) in 17 games, just 2 fewer than last year’s total. While we’re sure he’d enjoy putting up a career high, Middleton has different priorities.

    “I don’t worry about the offence too much,” he said. “Let forwards worry about that. I’ll worry about the (opposing) players and putting them on their ass.”

    In the same article, Mark Hunter says Middleton “defends very well … He’s a big, strong kid, and one of the tougher kids, we believe, in the draft. Of course, he’s gotta make quicker puck decisions, and if he can do that, there’s good upside on his will.”

    Here’s to hoping this never happens again:

    Video from Fox Sports

    Stephen Desrocher, D – Kingston – 6’4″ 206 – 2015 6th round (155th overall)

    The over-aged defender (and Oakville Blades alumnus) brings “size, a great shot and championship pedigree.” He’s averaged 0.43 PPG over 4.5 seasons in the OHL, including 35 points (6G, 29A) in 52 games with Kingston last year. He currently has 3 goals and 8 points in 20 games.

    “Safe defenders with size are a scarce commodity in the organization so Desrocher has a bit of a positive outlook to him should his development continue strongly. At 20 years old he likely finds himself in pro next season but he is yet to sign his entry-level deal.” –Jason Banks

    If you’re a fan of bar down, Memorial Cup OT winners then start the video from the beginning. If you’re a fan of well-timed, post-game profanities, skip to 2:00.

    Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL)

    Martins Dzierkals, LW – Rouyn-Noranda – 5’11” 170 – 2015 3rd round (68th overall)

    We think it’s pronounced “zir-KALS.” The Latvian has 27 points (12G, 15A) in 21 games. That’s 3rd best on the 2nd-place Huskies, who have been a staple on the CHL’s weekly top-10 list (the team’s been on it 9 times this year, ranking as high as 1st). Dzierkals is 12th in the Q in points.

    Relatively unknown at the draft table, he’s now a major player in the “maybe a Leaf one-day” conversation.

    Western Hockey League (WHL)

    Adam Brooks, C – Regina – 5’10” 169 – 2016 4th round (92nd overall)

    Brooks had a 1.66 PPG last year, recording 120 points (38G, 82A) in 72 games, and a 1.92 PPG in 12 playoff games (23 points [12G, 7A]). Amazingly, those numbers have ballooned to 2.29 PPG in his overage year. He has 32 points (8G, 24A) in 14 games including 20 points in 7 November game. He’s t-5th in points and t-2nd in assists in the WHL. Most impressive? He’s played in the fewest amount of games among any player on the league’s top-100 points list. These stats beg the question “is the Pats captain just too good for the WHL?”

    brooks brooks2

    Brooks highlights on demand: #77 gets 3 assists in this game, 3 points in this one (skip to 1:29 for an outstanding spin-o-rama assist), and 4 points here.

    Jack Walker, LW – Victoria – 5’11” 180 – 2016 6th round (152 overall) 

    (aka. Jonathon, JJ)

    I have a pun coming.

    Walker had 84 points in 72 games (36G, 48A) in his draft year and another 16 (8G, 8A) in 13 playoff games. More impressively, he’s moved between forward and defence throughout his Victoria Royals career, and his 18 goals in 2014-15 even lead all WHL defencemen. Being effective at both D and LW makes him a … Jack of all trades.

    …he’s got 12 goals and 13 assists in 22 games. Skip to 2:50 to see him on this week’s WHL top-10 highlight reel at #3


    National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA)

    Joseph Woll, G – Boston College – 6’3″ 196 – 2015 3rd round (62nd overall) 

    After an incredible start, Woll’s numbers are averaging out. Of all the NCAA goalies who have appeared in at least 10 games, Woll has the 6th-best SV% (.924) and 14th-best GAA (2.32). Prior to being pulled in a 5-2 loss to Harvard Friday, those numbers were .930 and 2.09. The freshman is younger than all the statistically better goalies except one, in some cases by 5 years.

    Boston College is the fourth-ranked D1 hockey program and sits atop the NCAA Hockey East men’s standings with 11 points.

    James Greenway, D – Wisconsin University – 6’4″ 205 – 2015 3rd round (72nd overall) 

    Another gargantuan defenseman, Greenway can skate well and get under the opponent’s skin, however, his puck handling could use some work.

    He’s not known for his offensive skills – 1 goal and 4 points in 8 games for Wisconsin – but he’s capable of scoring beauties like this one:


    Dakota Josuha, C – Ohio State University – 6’3″ 194 – 2014 5th round (128th overall)

    A point a game has the sophomore 4th on the 13th-ranked Buckeyes this year (2 G, 11 A). That’s only 4 back of last year’s 29-game total. His 8 PIMs thus far also means he’s staying out of the box. He finished last year with 50.

    Dominic Toninato, C – University of Minnesota-Duluth – 6’2″ 194 – 2012 5th round (126th overall) 

    _tqqfopzDrafted as a long-term project out of high school, Toninato is in his fourth year at the top-ranked UMD and was recently named the captain. His career 0.57 PPG in the NCAA doesn’t look too impressive but I’m not sure how college numbers translate to the NHL (Jonathan Toews’ university stats weren’t breathtaking either).

    He’s the kind of heart and soul player Leafs fans love but time will tell if he ever plays in the NHL.

    He’s got 4 goals and 10 points in 14 games.





    Nolan Vesey, LW – University of Maine – 5’11” 198 – 2014 6th round (158th overall)

    In his third year at UMaine, Vesey is on pace for his best numbers yet. 23 points (10G, 13A) in 36 games two years ago, he’s already got 3 goals and 8 points in 14 games. Jimmy Vesey’s brother is, unfortunately, best known for spearing a goalie than for his skill set. Again, I’m not sure how college numbers translate into professional stats, but my money’s on Vesey not making it to the NHL, at least not for a while.

    Kontinental Hockey League (KHL)

    at Staples Center on September 25, 2014 in Los Angeles, California.

    at Staples Center on September 25, 2014, in Los Angeles, California.

    Yegor Korshkov, RW – Lokomotiv Yaroslavl – 6’3″ 175 – 2016 2nd round (31st overall)

    (also spelled “Igor,” “Egor,” “Korschkov,” or “Korchkov” all bastardized versions of “Егор Коршков”)

    Korshkov has 15 points (4G, 11A) in 30 games and already surpassed last years, 41-game totals (6 G, 6A). He’s 4th in team scoring behind Max Talbot and former Leaf Brandon Kozun, highlighted by a 3-assist game on Sept 30th.

    The KHL recently took a two-week rest for the Karjala Cup, an international tournament between Russia, Czech, Finland, and Sweden. Korshkov was selected to play for the Russians but didn’t record a point. He’ll have a chance at redemption now that he’s been named to the national team again, this time to participate in the EHT (European Hockey Tour), another tournament with the same four teams.

    “Korshkov has excellent size, but will need to add some muscle to his frame. He is an excellent play maker, as he uses excellent stick handling skill to slow the play down and wait for teammates to get open. He is strong on his skates, and has the agility to go with his stick-handling and beat defenders one-on-one. Korshkov uses his body to win battles on the boards, and to protect the puck in the cycle game. This should get even better as he grows into his body and gets stronger. He has high end hockey IQ and almost always seems to make the smart play with the puck on his stick”
    Ben Kerr, Last Words On Sports

    Nikolai Chebykin, RW – Balashikha – 6’4″ 182 – 2016 7th round (182nd overall)

    (aka Cebikin)


    Could still trick-or-treat. Photo courtesy of nsahockey.org

    The 19-year-old has bounced between Dynamo Balashikha of the VHL (Russia’s junior league), where he has 3 goals and 5 points in 14 games, and HK MVD Balashikha of the MHL (Russia’s AHL), where he has 6 goals and 8 points in 7 games. He’s 5th in HK MVD scoring despite playing a fraction of the schedule.

    “Big framed Russia centre-forward with decent puck skills, and boots. A long strider who can carry the biscuit, and score. Long term developmental project who needs work in many areas.” –Bill Placzek.





    Vladimir Bobylev, RW – Spartak Moskva – 6’2″ 202 – 2016 5th round (122nd overall)

    Drafted from the WHL’s Victoria Royals, Bobylev signed in the KHL over the summer. The international man of mystery’s exact stats are unknown. Elite Prospects, HockeyDB, Scoreboard, and Spartak Moskva’s website all have different GP and PTS. We’re going to go with the team’s official website (1 goal, 3 points, 20 GP). You can’t even find him on Twitter! A search just leads you to this:

    He’s recently been sent down to Khimik Voskresensk of the VHL, where he hasn’t played a game yet.

    Swedish Hockey League (SHL)

    Carl Grundström, RW – Frolunda – 6’0″ 187 – 2016 2nd round (57th overall)

    Grundström was traded to Frolunda near the end of last season and remains in the SHL – Sweden’s top league – while his former club, Modo, now plays in the lower Allsvenskan. Grundström’s 8 goals leads Frolunda – who sits atop the SHL – while his 9 points are 5th best on the team. He also has 3 goals and 6 points in 8 Champions League games (a best-of-European clubs tournament), where Frolunda is the reigning Champs and are in the final-8 this year. He also has 7 goals and 10 points in 6 Sweden U20 games.

    Jesper Lindgren, D – Modo Hockey – 6’0″ 161 – 2015 4th round (95th overall) 

    “Jesper Lindgren, an impressive blend of skill, speed, determination, and intelligence, is the one player you don’t want to see carrying the puck if you are his adversary. The nimble puck-carrying defenseman plays above his age, and is confident enough in his abilites to make creative plays under pressure. He is poised with the puck and possesses a high level of hockey sense; he is always aware of what is unfolding in the play, and never seems to make irrational decisions or bend under adversity.” -Curtis Joe, EP 2015

    Gundstrom’s former teammate’s 8 points (1G, 7A, 18 GP) leads all Modo defenceman. In 4 games with Modo “SuperElit” (Swedish Junior league), he also has 7 points (1G, 6A).

    (video is awful and the music is cheesy, but Lindgren is good enough to have a montage, right?)

    Pierre Engvall, RW – Mora IK – 6’4″ 200 – 2014 7th round (188th overall) 

    Engvall’s 0.80 PPG (16 points [8G, 8A] 20 GP) has almost doubled from lasted year’s 0.48 PPG (24 points ([12G, 12A] 50 GP). He’s second in Mora IK scoring, which is in a 3-way tie for first in the Allsvenskan.

    National League A (NLA) (Switzerland)

    Fabrice Herzog, RW – Zurich – 6’1″ 167 – 2013 5th-round (142nd overall)

    Photo by Robert Hradil

    Photo by Robert Hradil

    Auston Matthews’ former teammate in Zurich, Herzog attended Leafs camp in 2015. He was once nearly a point-per-game player for the Quebec Ramparts (2013-14) and was even a Marlie for 5 games that year. He’s technically still Leafs property, but now almost 22-years-old and in his third full season in the NLA, you can bet we won’t see Herzog play with Auston in North America.

    He does have a stat line of 5 goals, 3 assists in 20 games for the Lions this year.







    The Marlies


    And of course, Tyler Biggs

    5580A part of the ECHL’s Kalamazoo Wings, Biggs has tied his second-highest professional point total with 6. He just needs 4 more to surpass his career best.

    • Greg Tot

      We traded up to get Tyler Biggs…

    • dave

      Love that Woll’s doing so well. Nice to have a G prospect to dream on.