Toronto Maple Leafs hockey is right around the corner. The team will be opening up training camp in the not too distant future and fans can rejoice that their favourite players are all back on the ice.
It’s been a long summer and Leafs fans have been starved for any and all news regarding the team. Fortunately, this past weekend, the Leafs held their annual rookie tournament where fans, management, and media alike were able to see the future up close and personal.
Let’s dive into some short notes about some of the key players who participated over the weekend.
Coming off of a Memorial Cup win with the Windsor Spitfires, Leafs fans knew all about the skill of Jeremy Bracco. The talented winger displayed a great set of hands throughout the tournament.
And this is why I love watching Jeremy Bracco play hockey. pic.twitter.com/QXg8EHIKXc
— Ian Tulloch (@regressIan) September 9, 2017
He’s got outstanding mobility and vision and his passing ability is easily one of the best among the Leafs’ prospects. The slick American was able to work effectively on the sideboards and behind the net and hooked up with Carl Grundstrom for a nice tip in goal against the Canadiens’ rookies in game one.
Travis Dermott is one rookie hockey fans were most looking forward to seeing. Dermott, who spent last season with the Marlies, has a legitimate shot at making the big club this coming season.
The former Newmarket Hurricane was scratched from Friday night’s game due to an illness, but was able to suit up against Ottawa on Sunday.
Dermott stood out for a variety of reasons. He was extremely vocal on the ice and was able to take charge of the situation on the ice. He’s a good two-way player who displayed puck-moving ability, leadership, and poise all game long.
He was also paired with Timothy Liljegren and the duo impressed with their mobility throughout the entire game.
Timothy Liljegren, the most recent Leafs first rounder, had an up and down tournament. In the game against Montreal, he was caught out of position a few times, one of which led to a Habs’ goal. It’s also important to note that some of the defensive miscues were on the whole team and not only on Lijegren himself.
If your defense partner pinches in and no forward slides back to cover an odd-man rush, it’s a tough situation to be in no matter who you are.
— Maple Leafs Hotstove (@LeafsNews) September 10, 2017
Liljegren did have some excellent moments as well. He’s a lethal force on the power-play and uses his skating and vision to great effect. He made a beautiful play at the blueline which eventually led to a Trevor Moore goal against the Senators. Liljegren had some flashes of what made him a first round pick.
He’s young and raw and will only get better as he becomes more experienced. Liljegren has two options for the upcoming season. He could return to Sweden or he could remain in Toronto and suit up for the Marlies. The AHL seems like a better option as the talented Swede would be able to learn the North American style of play and could be constantly monitored by the Leafs brass in the same city.