With the Canadian Hockey League playoffs starting this weekend, there are quite a few Leafs prospects who will be taking part in the run to the Memorial Cup in Shawinigan, Quebec May 18-27.
We will start in the WHL where both players who are property of the Blue and White will see postseason action.
Forward Josh Nicholls missed time earlier this season with an injury but he has been on a tear heading into the start of the playoffs having recorded eight points in the last three games. Nicholls finished the season with 68 points in 56 games. He and his Saskatoon Blades finished fifth in the WHL’s Eastern Conference and will play the Medicine Hat Tigers. Saskatoon won the season series 3-1-0-0 with Nicholls recording five points in four games.
The recently signed Brad Ross and the Portland Winterhawks are the third seed in the Western Conference having picked up 102 points on the season. The Winterhawks will be going up against the Kelowna Rockets and are heavy favourites being 30 points ahead of the Rockets in the standings. Ross finished the season with 82 points, 163 PIMs and a +15.
In the OHL, seven of the Leafs’ nine prospects have qualified for postseason play. David Broll from Sault. Ste. Marie and Sondre Olden from Erie were the only two not to make it. Both Broll and Olden have joined the AHL Toronto Marlies for the stretch drive.
Sam Carrick’s Brampton Battalion will go head-to-head against Josh Leivo and the Sudbury Wolves. Carrick had his best season in the OHL recording 67 points in 68 games. Leivo came out of nowhere towards the end of last season opening the eyes of Leafs scouts. This season he has continued his strong play recording 32 goals and 73 points.
Another Leafs prospect in the OHL’s Eastern Conference playoffs is Stuart Percy of the Mississauga St. Michaels Majors. Percy suffered two concussions this season but he has been healthy over the last month. He was excellent in 2010-11 for the Majors with 12 points in 20 playoff games.
It is a big opportunity ahead for Greg McKegg and the London Knights who had the most points in the OHL this season. McKegg was traded to the Knights at the OHL trade deadline. He had 41 points in 30 games with London who are overwhelming favourites against Windsor.
The Plymouth Whalers finished two points behind London in the Western Conference and they have big Jamie Devane on their team. Devane had 45 points this season along with 104 penalty minutes. Devane and the Whalers will be facing the Guleph Storm who are backstopped by Garret Sparks, the number one goalie for the Storm. Sparks heads into the playoffs on a roll as he was named the Vaughn CHL Goaltender of the Week after posting a 2-0-0-0 record and a 0.50 GAA and .984 SV%.
The final Leafs prospect we will be following in the OHL playoffs is Andrew Crescenzi. The Kitchener Rangers centre is one of the few veteran players on the young Rangers. He missed the final two games of the season to mend an injury. Kitchener takes on Owen Sound starting this weekend.