TORONTO – It is that time in the off-season where the barrage of Free Agent signings have cooled down, and where prospects who were recently drafted in late June, but as well as prospects in general can set an impression on their pro clubs. For the Toronto Maple Leafs, it is their week where they are hosting their annual Development Camp at the Mastercard Centre in Etobicoke Ontario.
This is where the personnel can catch a glimpse of club’s future, with players such as Jeremy Bracco, Adam Brooks, Joesph Woll and as well as recent first-round pick Timothy Liljegren. On the other hand, the Development Camp is also an opportunity where teams can bring players who did not get selected in the draft, or players who are not owned by other teams.
With that being said, enter Jacob Tortora.
It is not a surprise that Tortora is back in the Greater Toronto Area. The Boston College Commit played his Minor Hockey with the Don Mills Flyers in the Greater Toronto Hockey League. The current 17-year old was apart of a team with current OHL’ers such as David Levin, Brett Neumann, and Noel Hoefenmayer.
There, Tortora would be an offensive dynamo for the Flyers tallying 68 points (31 goals, 37 assists), leading his club to both the GTHL Finals and to the prestigious OHL Cup Championship game.
Following his Minor Midget season, Tortora was selected in the first round of the OHL Priority Selection by the Barrie Colts, however he had already made it clear that he wasn’t interested in playing in the OHL, and decided to join Team USA’s National Team Development Program.
Spending his last two seasons playing in the Development Program, Tortora shockingly went undrafted at the 2017 NHL Entry Draft.
Although Tortora is an under-sized player standing at 5’8, he makes up for it with his game-breaking skill and hockey sense.
Tortora’s skillset is now a perfect match to the ongoing trend that is currently taking place in the NHL. Players such as Johnny Gaudreau, Patrick Kane, and now Mitch Marner and William Nylander have all proved that size does not matter, and that speed and skill are crucial to building a championship franchise.
With this in mind, Tortora would prove that once again throughout the two scrimmages at the Leafs Development Camp. The New York native has had a hat-trick in back to back scrimmages at camp, including his hat-trick on Tuesday which led to a Team White victory over Team Blue.
With two straight days of putting on quite the impression, even though with the amount of under-sized playmakers at their disposal already, the Leafs would be making a huge mistake without signing Tortora, however he has made it clear that he will be attending this upcoming season playing with Boston College.
Hopefully the Leafs can find a way to lure Tortora to join the Maple Leafs following his collegiate career with the Eagles.
Wednesday July 12th will be the final day of scrimmages at the Leafs Development Camp, one final opportunity for Tortora to silence his critics before his NCAA career begins.