After a three-game rookie tournament that saw Toronto Maple Leafs prospects show off their skills, several are worth of keeping an eye on as attention shifts to the main training camp this week.
Without a Stanley Cup since 1967, Leaf fans are constantly hoping that a saviour can be found in such an event. Although there may not be a white knight among the group this year, it’s likely Leaf supporters have not seen the last of these three prospects.
Nazem Kadri: The Leafs’ first choice (7th overall) in the 2009 draft faces more pressure than any other prospect from this crop to make an impact when Toronto’s camp opens later this week. At 6-0, 188 pounds, Kadri is a rare mix of skill, with a physical edge that should endear him to the Leafs faithful.
Both aspects were on display in Tuesday’s matchup with the Senators rookies, as Kadri seemed eager to make an impression on team management after sitting out the second game of the tournament on Sunday with a hip flexor injury.
On Tuesday, Kadri wowed the crowd with a nifty deke around a Senators defenceman before putting a shot toward the net.
In the second period, Kadri showed his grit, particularly in one shift where he made several hits before taking an elbowing penalty at 18:29.
Bradley Ross: A second-round choice by the Leafs in June’s draft, Ross is described as a feisty winger with decent hands, bringing to mind the play of former fan favourite Darcy Tucker.
Ross recognizes that as the future pest in Toronto, he will need to work on keeping his emotions under control.
“I’m getting better at it, not taking dumb penalties,” Ross told the Toronto Star. “If I want to make Toronto, I’m going to have to not cross that line.”
Ross is likely headed back to his junior team, the Portland Winter Hawks, but the Lethbridge, Alta., native will surely make waves at Toronto’s camp for his physical play.
Jerry D’Amigo: Toronto’s sixth round draft choice in 2009, D’Amigo will be an interesting player to watch because of the options team management for him.
D’Amigo shocked many when he decided to leave college in order to turn pro. As a result, D’Amigo will either end up with the Maple Leafs, the Toronto Marlies of the AHL, or the OHL’s Kitchener Rangers, who own his junior rights.
D’Amigo displayed a blend of speed and puck skills on Tuesday night that would suggest he might fit in on a Toronto team lacking in depth at the forward position.
The Binghamton, N.Y. native got a break late in the second period against Ottawa when he scored a short-handed goal that went off Sens forward Mike Hoffman.
While the goal may not have been highlight reel material, D’Amigo’s speed gave him the ability to create scoring chances throughout the night. If he can show the ability to finish once training camp gets underway, he may be in the lineup when Toronto begins its season against Montreal on Oct. 7.