Who is 6'8 prospect Curtis Douglas and why should Leafs fans learn his name now?

Published April 23, 2022 at 3:56
BY BRADLEY CELSIE
Curtis Douglas was originally drafted by the Dallas Stars in the fourth round back in 2018. The Stars decided not to sign him, relinquishing his rights. Last off-season, the Toronto Marlies signed Douglas to a two year AHL contract. Last month, the 22-year-old Oakville native inked a future two-year entry level contract.


So far this season, Douglas has posted 33 points in 63 games with the Toronto Marlies. Not bad for a rookie who just turned 22 years old last month. Douglas does have a history of scoring. When he was nineteen years old playing for the Windsor Spitfires of the Ontario Hockey League, Douglas was scoring at nearly a point per game pace (60 points in 62 games) when the season was cancelled due to the pandemic.

So far this year with the Toronto Marlies, Douglas has shown he is a big body who is not afraid to drop the gloves, as former Maple Leaf Jamie Devane found out the hard way:



As did Stelio Mattheos of the Chicago Wolves last month:


Douglas, a center, has decent hands for a big man and has illustrated an ability to score, particularly in tight to the net. To get to the next level, he will have to improve his speed, in particular his first step. With the Leafs development staff behind him, Douglas could be groomed into a very good NHL role player.

You can expect Douglas to compete for a roster spot as early as next season for at least two reasons. First, with the Leafs tight against the salary cap heading into next season, it is unlikely they will be able to bring back this entire forward group, which should open up roster spots for internal battles. Second, Leaf tough guys Wayne Simmonds (age 33) and Kyle Clifford (age 31) are not getting any younger. Perhaps next season the Leafs' decide to change the look of the fourth line and replace the physicality they provide internally. The only realistic internal option with that type of physicality right now is Curtis Douglas.

Zdeno Chara, but a forward. That's the comparison that Douglas has drawn in the past, due to his towering size and his physical presence. Remember his name, Leafs Nation. He could be a Leaf sooner than anyone thinks.
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