By John McGourty, NHL.com Staff Writer
It's been a tough stretch in Toronto, where Leafs fans have seen their team miss the Stanley Cup Playoffs in each of the last three seasons. The team's roster is due for a shakeup, but it seems apparent from the offseason moves and from the comments of Director of Amateur Scouting Dave Morrison that the Maple Leafs won't not rush their prospects to the NHL.
Here's a look at the Maple Leafs' top prospects.
Tyler Ruegsegger -- Don't be surprised if the University of Denver wins the NCAA Frozen Four in one of the next two seasons. The reason: Team leader Tyler Ruegsegger wins everywhere he goes.
Ruegsegger led the Littleton (Colo.) Hawks AA PeeWees to the national championship in 2001, the first national title for a Colorado youth-hockey team. After that, he led Shattuck St. Mary's to a national title while playing with Taylor Chorney and Jonathan Toews. Ruegsegger then become one of six Coloradans on the University of Denver's roster and had 15 goals and 19 assists in 40 games as a freshman.
Named an alternate captain as a sophomore, Ruegsegger had a difficult season while battling an abdominal injury but still managed to post 10 goals and 12 assists for 22 points in 31 games.
Ruegsegger appears to have added about 25 pounds since he was drafted in the sixth round (No. 166) in 2006. He weighed 170 then, but now is listed at 5-foot-11 and 195 pounds. That's good, because Morrison thinks he needs to be bigger and stronger to play center in the NHL.
Whatever message Morrison or Denver coach George Gwozdecky are trying to impart, Ruegsegger is likely to get it. He's one of the smartest hockey players in the NCAA, carrying a 3.8 grade-point average. "Tyler got hurt last year, an abdominal strain in the middle of the season," Morrison said. "Otherwise, he had a good year. He went to the World Junior tournament, which was good experience for him. I saw him play there. Tyler is a tenacious kid, a very good checker. He's the kind of player who wants to make things happen. He gets very involved."