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Maple Leafs Prospect Report Pre-Trade Deadline 2012 - Part 1 Written by StajanFan - February 25th, 2012
Del Zotto has top pairing d-man written all over him

It's the middle of winter, the trade deadline is fast approaching, and the Toronto Maple Leafs are in the middle of an epic playoff race for 5th through 8th place in the East, with as many as 8 teams in the race still battling for 4 or 5 spots that are far from being decided.

But today we are focusing on what is happening outside of Toronto and the CMHL, and taking a in depth look at the Maple leafs have in the cupboards in terms of prospects and some young players on the farm.

Let's go top to bottom and start with taking a look at some players in Notre Dame that are ready to take that crucial next step from ICHF to CMHL.

1. Michael Del Zotto - Del Zotto this season has made the leap from a potential good young defenseman to simply a good young defenseman. He has been arguably the Rangers best defenseman overall from the start of the season until now, and his defensive play this season compared to last season is night and day. Last year, he defensive play was allowing him to be a healthy scratch. This year it's allowing him to be part of the penalty kill, which at just 21 years old and the best team in the NHL, is very impressive.

Current Stats - 59GP, 7G, 25A, 32PTS, +25, 22:39TOI

On Pace For - 82GP, 9G, 34A, 43PTS, +34, 22:39TOI

2. Jamie McBain - McBain rushed on to the NHL scene in 2010, when he scored 10 points in the 14 games after his late season callup. He was one of the favorites to be a finalist for the Calder Trophy for rookie of the year in the NHL last season, but fellow teammate Jeff Skinner stole the show the entire year and McBain's hype quickly quieted down. This has been another good developmental season for McBain, but still show some inconsistency from month to month. He had a very impressive December, scoring 3 goals and 10 points in just 13 games, and was playing over 21 minutes a night. He play cooled of January, but this month has been another rather impressive month, with 4 points in 9 games and starting to see ice time creep over 20 minutes a game again. The Hurricanes season has been much the same.

Current Stats - 55GP, 6G, 16A, 22PTS, -5, 19:50TOI

On Pace For - 76GP, 8G, 22A, -6, 19:50TOI

3. TJ Brodie - A surprise to many for how well he has played this year, but not me. Before the season I actually predicted Brodie would score 30 points this season, but he did not start the season with the Flames, and since he been on the team, one could argue that he has been a little under used. He is the second best skater on the Flames blueline after Bouwmeester, he is very noticeable when he is one the ice because he can always move the puck out of the defensive zone by himself, and he does it with regularity. His NHL minutes are not yet high enough to be considered for a spot on the Leafs next season, but the way he has progressed this season has been simply outstanding.His stat lines don't tell the story in any way compared to his on ice play.

Current Stats - 47GP, 2G, 10A, 12PTS, -2, 16:43TOI

On Pace For - 68GP, 2G, 14A, 16PTS, -2, 16:43TOI

4. Artem Anisimov - Anisimov may be turning the corner offensively after a disastorous January in which he went pointless in 12 games, mainly because he was Tortorella's doghouse much of the month. Anisimov has a ton of talent, and when he is playng to potential, he shows why many believe he could be a 30 goal, 60+ point a year player. We traded Alex Goligoski earlier in the season for Anisimov due to the organizational depth on the blueline, but make no mistake about it, Anisimov does have pressure to increase his offensive production and become a far more consistent player than he has shown this season, a season in which he will still probably score 40 points.

Current Stats - 58GP, 11G, 19A, 30PTS, +13, 15:12TOI

On Pace For - 81GP, 15G, 26A, 41PTS, +18, 15:12TOI

5. Devan Dubnyk - Looked upon here in Toronto as Pekka Rinne's eventual successor, Dubnyk has been supremely mishandled this year by Edmonton. Every time Dubnyk starts to play well, the Oilers seem to always fall back on Khabibulin, who is 40 years old and has no future in Edmonton beyond next season, at best. Dubnyk has all the talent to be an NHL #1 goaltender, but like many other young players in Edmonton, the Oilers mishandle him and mess with their confidence. The only time Dubnyk has been able to play multiple games in a row has been when Khabibulin is injured. For being a 25 year old goaltender with his amount of talent, the way the Oilers have handled him this year has nothing short of embarrassing. Having said that, when he has been allowed play more than 1 or 2 starts in a row, he has show quite clearly that he is ready for the #1 job and should be given that opportunity rather than always going back to a 40 year old Khabibulin. Much like Brodie, his stats don't reflect in any way his play this season.

Current Stats - 32GP, 12W, 15L, 1OTL, 2.88GAA, .908SP, 1SO

We will look some younger players on the farm in our next issue, and the 3rd part will be an extended look at the Maple Leafs many high end prospects.

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