Keaton Middleton.

Keaton, selected 101st overall by the Maple Leafs in 2016 is an 18 year old whom already has the big bodied frame of a complete shut down defenseman at 6'5 and 235lbs.

Playing with Saginaw allows him to be overlooked as they have not been lighting the league on fire in recent years however he is a bright spot.

Middleton with only 18 points through 64 games has stood out in several other ways despite the results of his team he plays a very physical shut down style in which many fans believe the Maple Leafs are lacking.

Most impressively and the stat that stands out the most is that he has managed to be a +8 for the year on a team that has allowed many more goals then they have scored, and I know many fans see +/- as flawed and I would be entitled to agree for the most part but when you're on a last place team I believe it truly shows your worth, and Keaton has shown that he is not the issue in Saginaw and truly one of their top defenseman and a diamond in the rough for our Toronto Maple Leafs.


​Rinat "The Rock" Valiev

Valiev, a 6'2 208lb physical shutdown defenseman drafted in 2014 at 68th overall has continued to remain a solid contributer to the Toronto Marlies blue-line.

In 109 career AHL games Valiev has over 100PIM. This shows how much physicality he contributes.

A plus player as well as chipping in timely offensive contributions makes this guy solid.  As a rock.

Valiev saw some time with the Maple Leafs after injuries riddled the big clubs blue line dressing in 10 games in 2015/2016.

Valiev is the type of player to replace the likes of Polak with an additional speed aspect to his physicality that a player like Polak does not possess.

His attitude is also just right as the word "warrior" can be best used to describe the intensity he brings to every shift.  His style is a perfect match for the new Maple Leafs style of play.  A style of play that expects to WIN.

Toronto Maple Leafs

monolith sports - Toronto Maple Leafs Prospects - Defensive Defensemen

"With the NHL DRAFT upcoming we at "Toronto Maple Leafs Prospect Tracker And Updates" have compiled a top 5 DEFENSIVE defenseman in the organization. We would like to share this with all of you here at Monolith Sports."

- By Ryan Gray-Wheeler


Travis Dermott

I know what you're thinking, Travis Dermott is an offensive defenseman right ? Not anymore.

Known for constantly jumping up into the play while with the Erie Otters where Travis posted 17 goals 99 assist and was a +94 in 179 games there was always that defensive awareness in his game as his insane +94 shows.

Dermott went into the summer knowing he was getting the promotion to the Marlies and decided to focus more so on his defensive style of play with the desire for a shut down defenseman on the blue and white. 

Do not expect a fast promotion to the NHL as that his still several years away for Dermott however he is taking the proper strides and changes under Sheldon Keefe to increase his opportunity to one day pull that Toronto Maple Leafs sweater over his head.


Stephen Desrocher

The Kingston Frontenac's Captain, and Maple Leafs 6th round 155th overall pick in 2015 is a big 6'4 206lb edgy defenseman who doesn't shy away from the physicality.

Desrocher whom started his OHL career with the Oshawa Generals where he won a memorial cup with fellow Maple leafs prospects Tobias Lindberg has been a leader on every team he's played with from an assistant captain in Oshawa to joining the Kingston Frontenac's in 2015/2016 quickly being named captain.

Many teams came calling for Desrocher at the OHL deadline just a few weeks ago about Kingston decided to hold onto their captain and Stephen will likely finish his OHL career in Kingston before joining the Toronto Marlies next season. The Leafs have until August to make a move with this talented D-Man.


Andrew Nielsen

This is a big man. Could turn out to be the biggest of men for the Maple Leafs blue line one day in the future.

An intimadating presence that does not allow offensive players any room to breathe much less move, he is a rock on the back end.

A terrific passer with a hard and accurate shot, Andrew can also contribute on the offensive end in a big way.

Andrew will in the future be an insurence policy in the defensive zone while the Leafs offensive wizards take care of the goals.