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Leafs impressed by Verhaeghe – the youngest player at camp

Jul 13, 2013, 11:40 PM EDT

2013 NHL Draft - Portraits Getty Images

He’s only 17. Not even old enough to vote yet in Canada.

And yet, Carter Verhaeghe has been impressing at Toronto Maple Leafs prospects camp. As Kevin McGran of the Toronto Star reported on Friday, Verhaeghe scored three times, including once in a shootout, in scrimmages on Thursday.

His age would suggest there is still some growth left in his game.

“Where Verhaeghe is today and where he’s going to be 18 months from now, we’ll see a major transition in his game,” Jim Hughes, the Leafs director of player development, told the Toronto Star.

“You can see the skill-sets and the poise with the puck and playmaking ability. He can buy time and space.

“He’s smart, he thinks the game. So he came in and did what we thought he could do, but when you project it out when he gets stronger and he gets older, he’s going to be an elite player, obviously, at the OHL level, and then we’ll see where’s at. You’re looking 18 to 24 months down the road with him.”

The Leafs selected Verhaeghe in the third round of this year’s draft, with the 82nd overall pick.

He played this season with the Niagara IceDogs of the Ontario Hockey League, scoring 18 goals and 44 points in 67 regular season games.

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