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Leivo excites, Nylander electrifies at Maple Leafs Rookie Tournament

LONDON, ONT. -- Toronto's top draft pick from this summer didn't need much time to leave a big impression.  William Nylander suited up for just one of Toronto's three games at the Rookie Tournament - and electrified the proceedings with his creative playmaking and dazzling stick skills.  Second-year pro Josh Leivo was also a standout at the tournament and arguably the best player in camp for the Leafs.


William Nylander -- Only dressed for one game however electrified with his outstanding puck skills and ability to manufacture offence .. highly creative and constantly pushing the pace to get pucks on goal and makes plays .. showed little regard for his own safety as he willingly attacked the net; driving wide on defenseman who were upwards of 7 inches and 50 pounds heavier than him .. showcased some sizzling moves in close .. able to penetrate scoring areas with a quick flick of the wrist and solid acceleration courtesy of an explosive first step .. shifty and elusive as he can dangle in tight quarters and always seems to make a play .. on the other hand, he struggled defending and was easily pushed off pucks when players were able to catch him .. substantial upgrades to his strength levels will be mandatory as he weighs a slight 170 pounds and is physically weak .. nevertheless, he has all the ingredients to be a first-line NHL player capable of piling up points.

Frederik Gauthier -- Played primarily on the second line and saw ample ice time in penalty-killing situations .. an extremely big body who uses his expansive frame to cut down angles as he plays a determined and spirited two-way game .. his strength lies in his ability to shut down others as he is an ideal match-up type player .. his skating has shown considerable improvement .. not a burner quickness wise - yet can reach a fast top gear by virtue of large powerful strides and a wide stance that digs in and swallows up ice .. his turns and crossovers have become smoother as he steadily rounds out his stride mechanics .. can be a bit of a puck chaser in the offensive zone; does a good job of setting up the play upon entering the zone but can be slightly lost when the play develops .. needs to continue to hone his offensive game however his calling card will be his attention to detail and tenacity away from the puck .. possesses third-line centre potential if he can improve on his offensive totals; otherwise he will be a very talented fourth-line centre.

Josh Leivo -- Arguably one of the best players in camp for the Leafs, Leivo owns a good set of hands and can defend well as he reads plays and anticipates well in all three zones .. his skating has improved in leaps and bounds and is now considered a strength .. a solid lower body aided by increased muscle mass has allowed him to become powerful in his initial bursts - and he now uses his edges well to cut into the ice .. highly skilled and instinctive inside the offensive zone; his passes spring line mates into the clear .. clever at deploying fake shots and a series of moves to inch his way closer to the goal .. his shot can handcuff goalies as he sports a deceptive release often taking the shot off the tip of his blade .. his snap shot is his best weapon .. his overall decision making inside the offensive zone has also developed and matured - displayed poise and a calculated approach as he was dangerous every time he gained the zone .. a complementary third-line player who has the propensity to put up 35-40 points in a few short seasons as long as he exhibits game-to-game consistency.

Matt Finn -- Came into camp in tip-top shape as he looked lean and muscular .. a driving force on the back end as his decision making and patience with the puck made him a threat every time he crossed the red line .. played within his limitations but recognized when to pinch and generally made good decisions so as not to get caught at the line .. positioned himself well to unleash his booming point shot .. his defensive game marked maturity as he allowed plays to come to him .. still struggles laterally when forced to move across but disguises his weakness by pushing players into bad spots with his stick and body positioning .. smart in terms of knowing his connection with respect to the developing play - and is rarely caught out of position .. played with unbridled confidence to make a play with the puck - appears on his way with some AHL seasoning.

Tom Nilsson -- A simple, two-way defenceman who prides himself more on taking care of business in the defensive zone yet showed healthy puck skills to launch a play up ice .. possesses good range and plays with some physicality .. threw several body checks and plays an irritating style of play that both infuriates and intimidates the opposition .. demonstrated proper use of his frame in order to contain players along the glass .. possesses a slight gallop to his stride but is a qualified skater who can make plays with the puck without breaking stride .. spearheaded a few rushes and was able to maintain pressure inside the zone .. pinched deep on the power play as he dropped down well below the blue line .. displayed the potential to be a steady, cost-effective third-pairing type as he does a little bit of everything.