Prospect Report – Toronto Maple Leafs – Dakota Joshua
by Jonny Ball
Name: Dakota Joshua
Born: Dearborn, MI (05/15/1996)
Current Team: Souix Falls Stampede (USHL)
Drafted: 2014 – Round 5 #128 overall by Toronto Maple Leafs
Hailing from Dearmont, Michigan Dakota Joshua is a clever, but raw offensively dynamic forward prospect. His tall frame suggests that Joshua could be a very powerful offensive unit for the Maple Leafs, once he adds bulk and becomes a stronger player.
Early polls predicted Joshua to go somewhere in the high third round, however he slipped to his eventual 128th overall pick by the Toronto Maple Leafs. Overlooked by many as a gamble for such borderline potential, insiders within the Maple Leafs back room class this 5th round pick as a steal.
One word that is thrown around a lot when describing Joshua is potential. It is only when looking at what attributes Joshua could develop that one can look at the bigger picture on the upside of his potential.
Style Of Play
Dakota adds a lot in front of the net as a power forward and will add something to a rather lacklustre Leafs powerplay team and does not have the skills to make it as a sniper or a playmaking forward. Many comparisons have been thrown at Joshua, some comparing the prospect as high as Patrice Bergeron, should he add the muscle mass that he is currently lacking.
Talk around the Leafs camp is that Joshua will eventually be moved to the wing to succeed in the NHL, which will really get the most out of his skillset, and would then throw comparisons to the Leafs’ own offensive forward, James van Riemsdyk.
After the current season, Joshua will join up with Ohio State University in the fall. It has been an excellent season for Joshua, which has lead to a USHL championship with the Sioux Falls Stampede, who bested Muskegon Lumberjacks in the Clark Cup Final.
Joshua posted solid numbers in the USHL with 20 goals and 24 assists in 52 games, but it was in the playoffs that Joshua really came of age. Joshua was pivotal in the Stampede’s Clark Cup win with 9 assists and 4 goals from the 11 playoff games.
With Joshua being committed to Ohio State in the fall, he will be in the right place to add the facets to his game that could push him to his eventual destination. Whether this is as a career-AHLer or his potential could in the future find himself a place on the 3rd checking line in the rebuilding Maple Leafs. Only time will tell, but Joshua has already racked up the numbers in the USHL to build a platform going forward in his college career. He will have the time and coaching needed throughout his college career to add the bulk and build the strength that could really see him become a big asset to Toronto.
These are all theoretical comparisons and projections however, as the true upside of Dakota Joshua is one of the hardest to project within the Leafs’ prospect pipeline. Which is why the term “potential” is bandied around more liberally than with any other. The first two years within the NCAA will give Leafs management more of a clear indication as to where Joshua’s final destination will be.