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Maple Leafs prospects recap: Timashov, Johnson have big nights.

From Pension Puppets

covering the kids from Jan 25-31st.

Let’s dive right into things, then I’ll think of something to say afterwards.

Ontario Hockey League

Mitch Marner/JJ Piccinich (F) – London Knights
January 29: Erie 6 at London 2
Marner: 0G, 2A, -2 / Piccinich: 0G, 0A, -1

January 30: London 3 at Windsor 8
Marner: 1G, 0A, -1 / Piccinich: 0G, 0A, -2
Week Totals: Marner 1G, 2A, -3 / Piccinich: 0G, 0A, -3

Travis Dermott (D) – Erie Otters
January 29: Erie 6 at London 2 0G, 0A, +1
January 31: Mississauga 1 at Erie 5 0G, 2A
Week Totals: 0G, 2A, +1

Nikita Korotselev (F) – Sarnia Sting
January 29: Flint 3 at Sarnia 4 Did Not Play
January 30: Sarnia 5 at Flint 2 Did Not Play
January 31: Sarnia 5 at Windsor 0 Did Not Play
Korostelev is still working off an injury suffered a few weeks ago.

Stephen Desrocher (D) – Kingston Frontenacs
January 29: Owen Sound 5 at Kingston 2
1G, 0A, -4
January 31: Kingston 2 at Peterborough 3 SO 0G, 1A, +1
Week Totals: 1G, 1A, -3

Jeremy Bracco (F) – Kitchener Rangers
January 29: Windsor 0 at Kitchener 2 1G, 0A, +1
January 30: Kitchener 2 at Saginaw 1 0G, 1A
January 31: Kitchener 6 at Sault Ste. Marie 6 0G, 0A, -2
Week Totals: 1G, 1A, -1

Quebec Major Junior Hockey League

Dmytro Timashov (F) – Shawinigan Cataractes
January 29: Chicoutimi 6 at Shawinigan 2
0G, 1A
January 31: Drummondville 4 at Shawinigan 5 OT 1G, 3A, +4
Week Totals: 1G, 4A, +4

Martins Dzierkals (F) – Rouyn-Noranda Huskies
January 30: Baie-Comeau 0 at  Rouyn-Noranda 4
0G, 0A, +1
January 31: Baie-Comeau 0 at  Rouyn-Noranda 4 1G, 0A
Week Totals: 1G, 0A, +1

Cody Donaghey (D) – Moncton Wildcats
January 30: Halifax 4 at Moncton 1
0G, 0A, -1
January 31: Acadie-Bathurst 2 at Moncton 0 No Points
Week Totals: 0G, 0A, -1

Western Hockey League

Andrew Nielsen (D)  – Lethbridge Hurricanes
January 29: Lethbridge 1 at Victoria 3
0G, 1A, -2
January 30: Lethbridge at Vancouver Did Not Play
Week Totals: 0G, 1A, -2


Dominic Toninato / Tony Cameranesi (F) – U. Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs
January 29: UMD 3 at Northern Michigan 4
Toninato: 1G, 0A, +1 / Cameranesi: 0G, 1A
January 30: UMD 3 at Northern Michigan 1
Toninato: 1G, 0A, +1 / Cameranesi: 1G, 0A, +1
Week Totals: Toninato: 2G, 0A, +2 / Cameranesi: 1G, 1A, +1

Dakota Joshua (F) – Ohio State Buckeyes
January 29: Michigan State 4 at Ohio State 2
0G, 0A, -2
January 30: Michigan State 1 at Ohio State 2 0G, 1A
Week Totals: 0G, 1A, -2

Nolan Vesey (F) – U. Maine Black Bears
January 29: Maine 5 at Massachusetts 2
0G, 0A, +2
January 30: Maine 5 at Massachusetts 4 1G, 0A, -2
Week Totals: 1G, 0A


Andreas Johnson (F) – Frolunda, SHL
January 26: Frolunda 0 – HV71 2
No Points
January 28: Växjö 1 – Frolunda 3 1G, 1A
January 30: Frolunda 3 – Djurgården 2 0G, 2A, +1
Week Totals: 1G, 3A, +1

Jesper Lindgren (D) – MODO, SHL
January 26: MODO 4 – Djurgården  1
Did Not Play
January 28: Rögle 2 – MODO 1 Did Not play
January 30: Färjestad 4 – MODO 1 Did Not Play

Pierre Engvall (D) – Mora IK, Allsvenskan
January 27: Mora 4 – IK Pantern 2
No Points
January 30: IK Oskarshamn 5 – Mora 2 No Points

Fabrice Herzog (F) – Zurich Lions, Swiss A
January 26: HC Fribourg-Gottéron 2 – Zurich 3
No Points
January 30: EHC Biel 6 – Zurich 5 OT No Points

Player League GP Points PPG NHLe Points
Mitch Marner (F) OHL 36 73 2.03 53.21
Andreas Johnson (F) SHL 39 35 0.90 44.15
Dmytro Timashov (F) QMJHL 38 69 1.82 38.71
Jeremy Bracco (F) OHL 36 48 1.33 34.99
Tony Cameranesi (F) NCAA-NCHC 23 24 1.04 35.08
JJ Piccinich (F) OHL 45 52 1.16 30.32
Martins Dzierkals (F) QMJHL 40 47 1.18 25.05
Travis Dermott (D) OHL 39 36 0.92 24.22
Andrew Nielsen (D) WHL 49 52 1.06 23.50
Fabrice Herzog (F) NLA 33 20 0.61 19.88
Nikita Korostelev (F) OHL 36 26 0.72 18.95
Dakota Joshua (F) NCAA-B10 18 10 0.56 15.94
Stephen Desrocher (D) OHL 50 29 0.58 15.22
Cody Donaghey (D) QMJHL 34 22 0.65 13.80
Dominic Toninato (F) NCAA-NCHC 25 11 0.44 14.79
Pierre Engvall (F) ALK 40 15 0.38 12.30
Jesper Lindgren (D) SHL 26 3 0.12 5.68
Nolan Vesey (F) NCAA-HE 25 4 0.16 4.85

Aside from Johnson’s night there wasn’t much coming out of Europe. Lindgren is off in the wind, Engvall and Herzog were shut out.  Everyone we have in the NCAA scored a goal, which I believe is the first time they all did in the same week.

Everyone else had some slower weeks, but still put up atleast a point. I haven’t found out why Nielsen didn’t play vs Vancouver, so that makes me think it’s a rest day.

We’re nearing the playoffs, and I’m excited to see what these kids can do. All CHL players are looking to make atleast the first round, so that will be a busy few weeks.

Source: Maple Leafs prospects recap: Timashov, Johnson have big nights.

Wheeler's mid-season Top 25 Under 25 ranking update

From Pension Puppets

Christian Bonin |

The top-10 is… unchanged.

At the end of August, when our staff’s collective Top 25 Under 25 ranking began to wrap up, I chose to release my individual ranking and explain my reasoning.

With the All-Star Game come to a close, and February starting, I thought it would be prudent to update that ranking and justify the movement that has occurred.

In order to get a better understanding of how I ranked the players, here’s an updated version of the criteria I included in my August ranking:

My Criteria

There were several ways in which I approached the ranking, but due to the age and established nature of some of the players, it was a decidedly different approach than the one I take when evaluating a draft class or pool of non-NHL prospects.

Not all voters used the organization’s status as a criterion. I did. The Leafs rebuild factors into the value each player has to the organization moving forward. The present isn’t nearly as important as the future, and that gives huge value to a Mitch Marner or a William Nylander over an established Nazem Kadri. Future star power will make or break the end result of this Leafs rebuild, and Kadri may well factor into it as a key player (he already is), but he’s not a piece that changes a franchise.

I didn’t approach the ranking as one that was strictly a meritocracy. As evidenced through my non-ranking of Byron Froese, a player’s NHL status doesn’t guarantee him value. Byron Froese is replaceable. The Marlies roster this season includes several players who could play a fourth line role in the NHL.

The lottery tickets that the players I ranked near the bottom of the T25U25 represent hold more value than a Byron Froese does. The chance that Martins Dzierkals can be more than a replacement level NHLer holds considerable value to a team like the Leafs. Nothing plagues NHL franchises more than the idea that picks are expendable. If you draft for upside, you will find real value, not Byron Froese value.

Dzierkals’ footwork and skating ability, as well as the low kick to his release and his knack for getting it off in stride is a real, identifiable stylistic trait that translates well at the next level. And there’s a very good chance he never becomes an NHL player, but the value in acquiring players like him is worth more than any value Byron Froese holds to the Leafs, at least for a rebuilding team.

The top 11 players remain unchanged. The prospects within the group have progressed as expected, Jake Gardiner has blossomed (yes, he’s 26 but for continuity’s sake I re-included him in the ranking), and after faltering out of the gate Peter Holland and Nazem Kadri have returned to form. I nearly moved Jeremy Bracco back a spot in favour of Dmytro Timashov (who has risen more than anyone except Garret Sparks) but Bracco elevated his play after being snubbed by Team USA and he’s really beginning to find his game after leaving the NCAA for the OHL.

Sparks wasn’t ranked in August in part because I regarded Chris Gibson as the Marlies starter, which would have limited Sparks’ ability to get the starter’s load he needs to really progress. Both were narrowly left off of my August list, though Gibson was ranked 25th on the overall PPP ranking.

Travis Dermott also rose substantially thanks to some impressive play as one of the OHL’s best defensemen this year, though I still worry about his skating limiting his upside when he becomes a pro.

Rinat Valiyev also moves into the top 25 — his skating has held up more than I expected it too as an AHL rookie — and is joined by two players who weren’t available to be ranked in August in AHL scorer Jeremy Morin and Frank Corrado (who should play more than he does).

Stuart Percy and Frederik Gauthier have fallen the furthest, but not because they haven’t had good seasons. Gauthier has played really well defensively — as expected — and his results are the dividends. For Percy, it’s just a matter of timing. The clock is ticking and despite up-ticks in his offensive production, Percy’s window for establishing himself in the Leafs organization will come to a close before we know it. Mostly, for both Gauthier and Percy, the dip in their ranking speaks to some strong seasons and new faces.

Despite an excellent (surprisingly so) season from Andrew Nielsen, he remained unranked. Like with Dermott, I worry about how Nielsen’s skating will translate as a pro (his shot and physicality aren’t a problem). Still, his season has been extremely impressive and he doesn’t seem to be slowing down as the WHL’s highest-scoring defensemen. There’s a good chance, if he keeps it up, that he climbs into next summer’s ranking (though the Leafs could have 5+ picks in the first three rounds this summer that will factor into that discussion).

My February Ranking

Just missed: Andrew Nielsen, Zach Hyman, Jesper Lindgren, Nikita Korostelev.

Remember: Neither of these rankings are the overall, conglomerated PPP ranking but simply my personal list. Morgan Rielly finished first on the overall list.

Source: Wheeler's mid-season Top 25 Under 25 ranking update

Leafs prospects perform at 2016 World Juniors

From Official Toronto Maple Leafs

The Maple Leafs had an impressive five prospects in the recently-concluded 2016 IIHF World Junior Championship in Helsinki, Finland. And, even more impressive, one of them – Marlies winger Kasperi Kapanen – scored the gold-medal-winning goal for his native Finland in front of delirious countrymen. In many ways – aside from the injury to Swedish center William Nylander that sidelined him for much of the action – the tournament couldn’t have gone better for Toronto’s group of youngsters.

The biggest, best impression from that group of Buds prospects arguably came from Swedish forward Dmytro Timashov, who opened eyes across the hockey world with his two-goal, seven-point performance for the fourth-place Swedes. Timashov – who after the tournament was traded from his QMJHL Quebec Remparts team to the Shawinigan Cataractes – was labeled a sleeper pick of Maple Leafs director of player personnel Mark Hunter prior to the holiday action, and he more than lived up to that label.

“People have noticed how good he is,” Hunter said Tuesday on a media conference call. “I don’t think he was getting recognition. Now I think people see he’s a good prospect for the Leafs. The sky’s the limit and he’s got more room to grow as a player, but he sure showed his ability and talent in this tournament.”

Asked what elements of Timashov’s game impressed him most at the WJC, Hunter spoke of the 19-year-old’s elite playmaking abilities.

“He’s a superb passer,” Hunter said. “He made some elite passes in that tournament where you go, ‘Wow, that’s pretty special.’ And I think he did that consistently, where sometimes (when it comes to) young players, consistency is a problem. Consistently, he was one of the better players for Sweden in this tournament.”

As for Nylander, who was knocked out of the tournament after being injured in a Dec. 26 game against Switzerland, Hunter said the 19-year-old – the leading scorer with the Marlies and the AHL’s top point-getter prior to the holiday break – would return to Toronto to be examined by team doctors before moving forward.

Two of the Leafs’ other top prospects at the WJC – forward Mitch Marner and defenseman Travis Dermott – were part of a disappointing showing from Team Canada. That said, Marner led Canada with four goals and six points, while Dermott chipped in two assists.

“We all see Mitch (and) we all know he needs strength,” Hunter said. “I said that before the tournament and I said that after the tournament. He’s got to address getting stronger. He’s a driven young man and he will.

“I thought he pushed it some times and then he got himself into problems with longer shifts, and a few things that showed some immaturity in his game, but I thought when the game was on the line, he brought another level and was very good. (From) that standpoint, we’re excited about him of course because of what he can do in big games.”

Dermott, who wasn’t a lock to make Team Canada prior to the tournament, chipped in a pair of assists and experienced high-pressure competition at lightning speed.

“Travis has got to make sure he just keeps his pace going and keep improving and making sure he’s doing things faster,” Hunter said. “It’s so fast in the National Hockey League and it’s fast in the American League so I think Travis and all young players have to work at it.”

Of course, Kapanen – acquired in the off-season trade that sent Phil Kessel to Pittsburgh – grabbed the spotlight at the end of the WJC with his thrilling, wraparound overtime goal against the Russians that won gold for the host Finns. Hunter believes the 19-year-old’s time playing against veteran, much older men in the AHL gave him a leg up on the competition in Helsinki.

“Him playing against older players, I think it advanced his play here,” Hunter said of Kapanen, who finished the WJC with five points in seven games. “It helped him out to be more ready for this tournament.”

Source: Leafs prospects perform at 2016 World Juniors

Maple Leafs prospects recap: Piccinich puts up points, Dzierkals returns, Nielsen helps out

From Pension Puppets

Covering December 28th – January 3rd & the world juniors.

What a week we had. It’s too bad the world juniors are over, but hey, there’s always next year. The schools and junior leagues were back in action last week and many players came back well rested and hungry for points.

IIHF Men U20 World Championships
For all the WJC coverage you want, you can head to our story stream

Mitch Marner/Travis Dermott – Team Canada
December 28: Canada 6 vs Denmark 1
Marner: 1G, 1A, +2 / Dermott: 0G, 1A, +1
December 29: Canada 3 vs Switzerland 2 (SO)
Marner: No Points / Dermott: No Points
December 31: Canada 2 vs Sweden 5
Marner: 1G, 0A, -1 / Dermott: 0G, 0A, -2
January 2nd: Canada 5 vs Finland 6
Marner: 2G, 0A, -1 / Dermott: 0G, 0A, -1
Week Totals: Marner: 4G, 1A / Dermott: 0G, 1A, -2

Dymtro Timashov – Team Sweden
December 28: Sweden 1 vs USA 0 0G, 1A, +1
December 30: Sweden 5 vs Denmark 0 0G, 0A, +1
December 31: Canada 2 vs Sweden 5 0G, 1A
January 2nd: Sweden 6 vs Slovakia 0 0G, 1A, +1
January 4: Sweden 1 vs Finland 2 0G, 1A, +1
January 5: Sweden 3 vs USA 8 0G, 0A, -3
Week Totals: 0G, 4A, +1

Ontario Hockey League

JJ Piccinich (F) – London Knights
December 29: London 2 @ Kitchener 3
0G, 1A, -1
December 31: Sarnia 3 @ London 4 (OT) 1G, 2A, +3
January 2: London 5 @ Sarnia 4 (OT) 1G, 1A, -2
Week Totals: 2G, 4A

Nikita Korotselev (F) – Sarnia Sting
December 28: Sarnia 6 @ Windsor 3
1G, 1A, +2
December 31: Sarnia 3 @ London 4 (OT) 1G, 0A, -2
January 2: London 5 @ Sarnia 4 (OT) 1G, 0A, -1
Week Totals: 3G, 1A, -1

Stephen Desrocher (D) – Kingston Frontenacs?
December 29: Ottawa 5 @ Kingston 2
0G, 0A, -2
December 30: Kingston 4 @ Oshawa 1 0G, 1A, +2
January 1: Peterborough 3 @ Kingston 5 0G, 1A, +2
Week Totals: 0G, 2A, +2

Jeremy Bracco (F) – Kitchener Rangers
December 29: London 2 @ Kitchener 3 0G, 0A, +1
December 31: Kitchener 5 @ Niagara 2 1G, 0A, +2
January 1: Guelph 2 @ Kitchener 3 1G, 0A, +1
January 3: Kitchener 3 @ Guelph 7 0G, 2A, +1
Week Totals: 2G, 2A, +5

Quebec Major Junior Hockey League

Martins Dzierkals (F) – Rouyn-Noranda Huskies
December 28:
Rouyn-Noranda 1 @ Gatineau 4 No Points
December 30: Blainville-Boisbriand 0 @
Rouyn-Noranda 6 3G, 1A, +4
December 31:
Drummondville 1 @ Rouyn-Noranda 2 (OT) No Points
January 3:
Rouyn-Noranda 2 @ Val D’or 4 1G, 0A, +2
Week Totals: 4G, 1A, +6

Cody Donaghey (D) – Moncton Wildcats
December 28: Moncton 3 @ Halifax 2
No Points
December 31: Acadie-Bathurst 5 @ Moncton 4 (SO) 0G, 0A, +1
Week Totals: 0G, 0A, +1

Western Hockey League

Andrew Nielsen (D)  – Lethbridge Hurricanes
December 29: Medicine Hat 2 @ Lethbridge 5
0G, 1A, +1
December 30: Lethbridge 4 @ Calgary 6 0G, 1A
January 2: Calgary 3 @ Lethbridge 4 0G, 3A, +1
Week Totals: 0G, 5A, +2


Dominic Toninato / Tony Cameranesi (F) – U. Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs
January 2nd: Exhibition Game: USNTDP-U18 3 @ Minn.-Duluth 4

Toninato: 3G, 1A, +1 / Cameranesi: 0G, 0A, -1

Dakota Joshua (F) – Ohio State Buckeyes
Florida College Classic Tournament

December 28: Boston College 2 vs Ohio State 3 0G, 1A
December 29: Ohio State 8 @ Cornell 0 0G, 1A
Tournament Totals: 0G, 2A

Nolan Vesey (F) – U. Maine Black Bears
December 29: New Hampshire 5 @ Maine 4
0G, 1A
December 30: Maine 0 @ New Hampshire 7 0G, 0A, -1
Week Totals: 0G, 1A, -1


Andreas Johnson (F) – Frölunda, SHL
December 29: Skellefteå 2 @ Frölunda 3
0G, 1A
December 30: Frölunda 3 @ Malmö 2 (SO) No Points
Week Totals: 0G, 1A

Jesper Lindgren (D) – MODO, SHL
December 28: Örebro 2 @ MODO 1 No Points
December 30: MODO 2 @ Luleå 3 Did Not Play
Week Totals: No Points

Pierre Engvall (D) – Mora IK, Allsvenskan
December 30: Asplöven 2 @ Mora 3 No Points

Fabrice Herzog (F) – Zurich Lions, Swiss A
January 2: Zurich 4 @ HC Davos 0
1G, 0A
January 3: HC Davos 2 @ Zurich 1 No Points
Week Totals: 1G, 0A

Player League GP Points PPG NHL eq.
Mitch Marner (F) OHL 25 58 2.32 18.56
Andreas Johnson (F) SHL 31 26 0.84 15.60
JJ Piccinich (F) OHL 34 45 1.32 14.40
Dymtro Timashov QMJHL 29 53 1.83 13.78
Andrew Nielsen (D) WHL 39 43 1.10 11.61
Jeremy Bracco (F) OHL 24 32 1.33 10.24
Martins Dzierkals (F) QMJHL 30 38 1.27 9.88
Travis Dermott (D) OHL 29 27 0.93 8.64
Nikita Korostelev (F) OHL 35 25 0.71 8.00
Stephen Desrochers (D) OHL 39 23 0.59 7.36
Tony Cameranesi (F) NCHC 15 17 1.13 6.97
Fabrice Herzog (F) NLA 25 15 0.60 6.00
Pierre Engvall (F) ALK 33 12 0.36 3.00
Dominic Toninato (F) NCHC 17 7 0.41 2.87
Cody Danaghey QMJHL 24 11 0.46 2.86
Dakota Joshua (F) Big10 12 6 0.50 2.16
Jesper Lindgren (D) SHL 23 3 0.13 1.80
Nolan Vesey (F) HE 18 3 0.17 1.11

Five prospects with 4+ point weeks is pretty good. Piccinich picked up the slack for some missing Knights who were at the WJC, but London had a hard time getting wins. Andrew Nielsen piled on the assists out west, and Martins Dzierkels made his return to the Q after helping Latvia win the Div1A World Juniors in style putting up 5 points.

Dakota Joshua and Ohio State won the Florida College Classic tournament over the holidays, beating Boston College and destroying Cornell in the final 8-0.

We could see some moves this week, it’s junior hockey trade deadline time. Timashov was rumoured to be out of Quebec City, so we’ll see if that goes down. I doubt anyone else in the OHL moves as they are all on good teams, but never say never. Desrocher did get a new teammate in Kingston last night, as fellow Memorial Cup winner Michael Dal Colle (NYI) was moved from Oshawa to Kingston.

Everyone is back in action next week so here’s hoping Timashov, Dermott, and Marner bring their anger at losing the WJC to the ice and show why they’re winners.

Update: 20 min after publishing Dymtro Timashov was traded to the Shawinigan Cataracts for 1st-round and 3rd-round picks in 2017 and a 3rd-round pick in 2018.

Source: Maple Leafs prospects recap: Piccinich puts up points, Dzierkals returns, Nielsen helps out