The annual Toronto Maple Leafs Prospect Camp was held in mid July and the future of the organization was on full display.
There are some in the group that will make the jump to the AHL next season and perhaps one or two that will even hit NHL ice very soon. There are also a crop to keep an eye on, as they work closer to a spot pro’s and mature their game, along the way.
*Frederik Gauthier>At 6’5” brings a big presence on the ice and can play at center, or on the wing. In speaking to his coaching staff of Rimouski in the QMJHL, the Leafs 1st pick of 2013 draft has a lot of admirable qualities. He was described as a “go to guy” right away, one that played in key situations throughout the season. Despite producing 22 goals and 60 points in his rookie season, he still has offensive upside. Averaging 18-20 minutes a game, his offensive understanding is impressive.
The closest Rimouski plays to Ontario is in Gatineau, Quebec – just across the river from Ottawa – on both September 27th, 2013 and January 12th, 2014.
There is a chance he returns to Gatineau on November 18th, 2013 as part of the Subway Super Series vs the Russians, as a tee up to the World Junior’s. Gauthier has represented the province of Quebec at the U-17′s and Canada at the U-18′s, in the past and is one of 4 Leafs invitees to Hockey Canada’s summer development camp for the World Junior team.
*Dominic Toninato: The 6’1” center played deep into the post-season with Fargo in the USHL last season. After racking up 70 points in the regular campaign, he posted 3g, 3a over 13 playoff contests. The Duluth native has committed to the University of Minnesota-Duluth for the fall and will join fellow Leafs prospect Tony Cameranesi in Bulldog colours. Toninato will also vye for a spot on the USA World Junior roster, beginning with camp in Lake Placid, New York August 3-10. At prospects camp Toninato stood out on every shift he participated in.
The Bulldogs make 2 trips to Ohio and 1 to Michigan during their season. November 1st-2nd in Columbus at Ohio State/ February 28th, March 1st in Oxford at Miami of Ohio/ January 31st, February 1st in Kalamazoo at Western Michigan
*Tony Cameranesi: His 5’10” frame does not mean he can’t hold his own on the ice surface. Cameranesi has great wheels and uses his speed and hockey sense to make plays. Cameranesi already has one season of NCAA hockey under his belt at the University of Minnesota-Duluth. He finished the regular season tied on his team for 1st in points with 34, to go along with 14 goals in 38 games. The Maple Grove, Minnesota native will look to make an impact down the middle, sharing the same center role as Toninato.
*Carter Verhaeghe: Another center, this 6’1” Waterdown native still appears to be going into his frame. Playing for the Niagara IceDogs in the OHL, he experienced a deep run in the post-season during his rookie year. Playing 19 playoff
games in 2011-2012 gave him the experience of what it takes to perform and win in the post-season. He moved out of those playoffs and into his 2nd year of OHL play, where he recorded 18 goals and 44 points in 67 games. Although the IceDogs would lose in the first round this past playoff year, it allowed him the opportunity to represent Canada at the U-18′s. Verhaeghe and the Canucks would win gold in Russia, only adding to his experience at his young age. A versatile center, he has good hands and views the ice well. In the final scrimmage of Prospects Camp, he put together a hat-trick and was one of the most impactful players of the game.
If the trip to Niagara is too far, Verhaege’s IceDogs play in Mississauga at the Hershey Centre four times this season> December 6, 2013 and January 31st, February 23rd and March 14th, 2014.
*Matt and Ryan Rupert: The brothers each measure up to 5’10” but play like they are over 6 feet. Always adding an edge to the game when they hit the ice, their tenacity and fearless attitudes are valuable to their teammates; to those on the same line and those watching from the bench. A “love to play with em’, hate to play against em” breed, the Grand Bend, Ontario boys have also acquired a wealth of post-season play at young stages of their development. Part of back to back OHL Championship teams in London, these two have already played in over 40 playoff games for the green and gold. Together, they will get ready for another succesful year, as the Knights act as Memorial Cup hosts for the 2014 season.
The Knights visit Mississauga and the Hershey Centre only once, on January 19th, 2014..but it is worth the drive to the forest city to take in a game in front of over 9 thousand fans in London.
Ryan is headed to Hockey Canada’s World Junior summer evaluation camp this August 4-5 in Brossard, Quebec. He’ll be joined by Rielly, Gauthier and Matt Finn.
*Matt Finn: A standout on the Guelph blueline for the OHL”s storm, Finn had entered Prospect Camp off an excellent season, despite injury. Playing only 41 games, he was still able to put up 31 points. This marked the 2nd straight season Finn has had double-digit goals and assists for Guelph. The Storm captain did not show any signs of being slowed down by the injury, fully recovered by the time he arrived at camp, his skating was routinely excellent.
The Toronto native will play in Mississauga at the Hershey Centre only once, on November 19th, 2013. However, he is likely to play in Oshawa as part of the Subway Super Series vs the Russians a few days later, on November 21st, 2013.
Finn, Gauthier and Rupert are expected to square off in a World Junior camp exhibition series against Toninato ( USA) (Aug 10) and vs Finland (Aug 7)/Sweden (Aug 8).