A few things to note before we get to the prospect profile.

As has been the word around the water cooler since Brad Treliving was hired, it appears that the Leafs have no intentions of making any type of meaningful changes. This has become even more evident now that we know that Sheldon Keefe will return as the head coach next season and might even be in line for a 2 year contract extension. Keefe and Treliving are interviewing assistant coaches in an attempt to replace Spencer Carbury, who left Toronto to become the head coach of the Washington Capitals.

I simply can’t make sense of the current decisions, but that’s wholly based on the fact that the team as constructed has consistently been outplayed and outcoached every year in the playoffs for a very long time now. I guess my expectation for the future is a little different than what management wants.

Next we have a little general NHL talk. This is the time of year that fans are talking about the NHL Entry Draft, sure, but except for a couple of clubs those players are usually years away from being able to jump into the NHL and help their team, which has more eyes on impending free agents than anything. It’s also the time of year that players start to drop off the upcoming free agents list, due to being re-signed by their clubs.

In recent days we have seen the likes of Sean Monahan and Zemgus Girgensons sign extension with their current clubs, which makes me hold out hope that the Leafs can re-sign veterans Ryan O’Reilly, Luke Schenn and Noel Accia…..

Well slap my ass and call me Sally, I guess only other clubs are allowed to re-sign their players at this point. The Leafs have no hope.

Calum Ritchie
Position: Centre
Shoots: Right
Height: 6’2’”
Weight: 187lbs
NHL Comparable: Lars Eller, Ryan O’Reilly

What you have in Calum Ritchie is a two-way centre with slick hands and a playmakers mind, that never lacks effort in the defensive zone, but shows some inconsistently offensively.

With his package of size, passing ability and defensive awareness, it seems all but certain that Ritchie will go in the 1st round and maybe that’s why I have consistently seen him ranked in the top 20 on draft boards. The more I’ve read about him the more I believe that he could be a real possibility for the Leafs at #28 though.

With 24 goals and 59pts in 59 games played for the Oshawa Generals this year, Ritchie isn’t keeping pace offensively with the rest of the 2023 crop, which means that it’s the potential within the entire package that has teams taking notice. However, the reason I could see him dropping to the late 1st round and within the Leafs’ grasp has less to do with what he has done and more to do with the rest of the players up for grabs this year. This is a deep draft, with a number of players expected to go late in the 1st round that possess top 6 and top 4 potential, while Ritchie projects more as a 2nd to 3rd line centre.

It’s his lack of offense in his draft year and the fact that he wore the assistant captains “A” as a 17 year old that brought about the comparison to Ryan O’Reilly, but it’s probably a little hopeful to expect him to reach the same heights that O’Reilly did over his career. Instead, a 3rd line defensive centre with leadership qualities, like Lars Eller, appears to be a safe bet at the very least and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. In fact, a great 3C is something the Leafs have been lacking for a long time now.