The Toronto Maple Leafs have a free college forward signed from Notre Dame, Alex Steeves, on a three-year entry-level contract, the club announced on Sunday.
Steeves was rated by a number of top scouting services in his draft year (2018), but was not drafted between 2018 and 2020:
- 2018 NHL Draft: Ranked # 148 by ISS Hockey
- 2018 NHL Entry Draft: Ranked # 113 by FCHockey
- 2018 NHL Draft: Ranked # 118 by McKeen’s Hockey
- 2018 NHL Draft: Ranked # 86 by NHL Central Scouting
As a college junior in 2020-21, Steeves’ 32 points in 29 games ranked fourth in Big 10 points per game (1.10) behind three Wisconsin Badgers forwards: Cole Caufield (second year, 15th 2019 overall pick from Montreal), Linus Weissbach (senior, 192nd overall pick from Buffalo in 2017) and Dylan Holloway (second year, 14th pick from Edmonton in 2020). Last season, Steeves was shortlisted for the first phase of the Hobey Baker Award fan ballot.
While the 21-year-old is no giant at 5’11, 185 pounds, in the scouting notes we’ve reviewed from some of his USHL and college games when he was First year, his willingness to play the body (or even lose the gloves to defend a teammate on one occasion) did not go unnoticed, nor did his commitment to the defensive and penalty killer sides of the game. He has been described as a competitive kid who played a mature game early in his college career.
A weakness in skating in its early strides is noted as an area for improvement for Leafs development staff to get down to work on when they join the Toronto Marlies next season (or perhaps sooner if a deal is agreed). amateur essay should be in the cards, although the cross. – the border quarantine situation does not easily lend itself to just one):
Alex Steeves Appreciation Notes
courtesy of Blackbooks 2017-2019
Dubuque Fighting Saints # 21 C Steeves, Alex (2018) – Alex is a late 99 ‘birthdate, but that was a pretty mature Notre Dame Commit game. Steeves played with a lot of jumps and used his speed in transition to create the race. Delivered some big hits and was physical on the foredeck. Assisted on Kudla’s tying goal with a nice feed from behind the net to Kudla coming down the slot from the point.
Dubuque Fighting Saints, # 21 C Steeves, Alex (2018) – Alex was able to do some good things with the puck in the attacking zone and can create out of the cycle. Steeves played with goal and physical presence all night. He was ready to fight an older, taller player at Cole Hults after Steeves attempted a questionable shot in the neutral zone in the first half. I liked his level of competition and his willingness to go into difficult areas. Steeves is providing decent offense for a role in DBQ’s last six and will be a player to watch in the 2018 Draft.
Notre Dame – Alex Steeves (2019): After spending what seemed like an eternity in the USHL (three seasons), Steeves ended his freshman campaign with the University of Notre Dame where he scored seven goals and two assists in 39 games, mostly playing a role of the last six for the Irish. Steeves didn’t see much in terms of power play time, which is one area of his game where he can be efficient with the extra time and space. Steeves has offensive skills and can play, but he needs time and space to run.
Steeves’ skating was the big red flag for scouts last year in his first draft-eligible year as a late birthdate in 1999. While he has added strength over the past year, his skating did not really take the hoped-for jumps. Steeves has a decent top speed when he throws himself in, but he needs space to get there as his first steps are his main obstacle at this point.
Steeves has shown improved defensive play in his first year, where his effort away from the puck was better than in the USHL, and he’s ready to block shots and work on the penalty spot. His shooting is an asset, but he hasn’t had enough situations to showcase it this season.
Since the time of those scouting reports, more offensive opportunities, including on the power play, and Steeves’ improvements in his shooting and overall offensive play have shone over his next two seasons, as he led Notre Dame in points in 2019-20, led the team in goals and points in 2020-21, and finished in the top five of the Big 10 in points scoring last season.
Alex Steeves Statistics
|2014-15||Manchester Jr. Monarchs 16U||USPHL 16U||28||17||21||38||34|
|New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs 18U||USPHL 18U||1||0||1||1||0|
|2015-16||New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs 18U||EJEPL 18U||13||1||4||5||2|
|New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs 18U||ECEL 18U||9||6||6||12||16|
|Musketeers of Sioux City||USHL||39||5||6||11||16||-14|
|Monarques du New Hampshire Jr.||EHL||4||2||4||6||0|
|2016-17||Dubuque Fighting Saints||USHL||53||6||12||18||33||-3|
|2017-18||Dubuque Fighting Saints||USHL||55||20||37||57||28||4|
|2018-19||Univ. From Notre Dame||NCAA||39||7||2||9||dix||-1|
|2019-20||Univ. From Notre Dame||NCAA||36||11||17||28||dix||6|
|2020-21||Univ. From Notre Dame||NCAA||29||15||17||32||8||2|
Alex Steeves Screening Report (video)