I remember when the Leafs sucked. I remember the bitter taste of being a basement team. Phil Kessel was a star player, and Dion Phaneuf was the freaking captain. Of course, we had our idea of a good future too. I wanted to review what happened to our “Young Guns” from the era before Marner, Nylander, and Matthews.
Once one of the Leafs top prospects, Percy is considered a 1st round bust. Percy actually showed a great deal of promise in the AHL for a few years, and was called up a few times by the Leafs. But unfortunately, that’s as far as his career went. In an odd, but inevitable, move the Leafs decided not to give Stuart Percy a qualifying offer when he was a RFA. He’d been passed by many other defensemen on the Leafs depth chart. From there, his career dropped. He was signed to a minimum wage contract for 1 year by the Penguins, and was immediately sent down to the AHL for the entire season. He didn’t get recalled, or resigned. He eventually signed a PTO with the Sabres AHL team, and got signed. He is currently on their roster, and is doing much better than he did last year with the Pens’ AHL team.
Is someone chopping an onion? Leispic was a top prospect for the Leafs. Leispic was originally a rather minor part of a trade. The Leafs traded pending free agents Cody Franson and Mike Santorelli for Leispic, Olli Jokinen (later traded for Joakim Lindstrom, who played 19 games with the Leafs before going to Russia, and a round 6 pick that turned into Leafs prospect Nicolas Mattinen) and a Round 1 pick in the McDavid draft (flipped for the 2nd round pick that drafted major Leafs prospect Jeremy Bracco, plus a 1st round pick that was flipped for Travis Dermott and Leafs prospect Martins Dzierkals, but that’s for another time.). For such a minor piece though, he sure got Leafs fans’ hopes up. Leispic had two extremely promising seasons in the AHL. Imagine his impact if he became a full time Leaf. But alas, ‘tis was not to be. The expansion draft came along. Most of the Leafs prospects were exempt, but, Leispic wasn’t. The Leafs unprotected list consisted of the rights to Garret Sparks and Antoine Bibeau. They could’ve taken Eric Fehr and Martin Marincin. Unfortunately the Montreal Canadiens weren’t the ones drafting, the only real options were Kerby Rychel and Brendan Leispic, any of those would hurt. Even though Leafs Nation prayed for Vegas to pick Martin Marincin, it didn’t happen. Leispic hasn’t been amazing for Vegas, but he’s done well. In fact, as I’m writing this, he’s at a 0.5 points per game pace. Wouldn’t that be great in a Leafs jersey.
I remember Viktor Loov being my idea of someone who may be on the Leafs in two years. I was so wrong. Loov was very, very far off on the depth chart, but he was young and showed some promise. Soon, the Leafs loaded up with talent, even on the back end. Loov had no purpose anymore. He was traded to the Devils for Sergey Kalinin, who after finishing the season with the Marlies, ran as fast as he possibly could to Europe. Loov now plays for the Devil’s AHL team. Loov, much like Percy, was a victim of the Leafs becoming a superstore of prospects of all positions. The only difference is the Leafs didn’t use a first round pick on Loov.
Once upon a time, Petter Granberg was THE face of Toronto’s future blueline (not including Morgan Rielly). Then he just slowly faded away down the depth chart. One by one, more prospects started popping up, and suddenly, Granberg was nothing more than a contract. The Leafs quietly placed him on waivers, where he was claimed by the Preds. Granberg has played 37 games with the Preds since. He’s a regular on their AHL team.
Once a top forward prospect, McKegg’s flaws and inconsistency seemed to take over. Then the Leafs drafted one million forwards and McKegg had fallen off the Leafs future. Eventually, he was flipped for author Zach Hyman, who also plays hockey in his spare time. Since being traded, McKegg has played for the Lightning, Panthers, and is playing with the Penguins. He’s been used as a high calibre AHLer and NHL call-up. This still isn’t much of a loss for the Leafs. They got a good forward for him, and if Kapanen can barely fit on this roster, how would McKegg?
Looking back, man did we suck. Compared to our prospects now these guys look like ECHLers! Do you think the Leafs could’ve handled these players situations better? Or maybe you think I’m a total loon for undervaluing them.