Leafs Prospect Roundup: Král & Abramov adjusting to the AHL, Voit’s big night, Liljegren’s graduation

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Normally, the focus of these Roundups are the big names in the prospect pool like Rodion Amirov, Matthew Knies, or Topi Niemelä but for sustained organizational success, teams need to be able to harvest talent later on in the draft as well. That has been an issue for the Leafs and the Marlies in recent years due to some poor drafting but we are starting to see some of Kyle Dubas’ later-round picks join the pro ranks and make an impact at the AHL level.
On top of players like Filip Král, Mikhail Abramov, and Semyon Der-Arguchintsev who are already suiting up for the Marlies, the Leafs have a number of other mid-late round picks such as Ty Voit, Nick Abruzzese, and Ryan Tverberg who are looking like potential contributors in the next couple of years. Maintaining a steady pipeline of talent will be crucial for a team like the Leafs who are always going to be looking for surplus-value around the margins of their top-heavy NHL roster.
Filip Kral | LHD | Toronto Marlies (AHL)
Drafted in the fifth round back in 2018, Král has mostly flown under the radar the last couple of years but his recent play might change all of that. He put up solid numbers playing in the top Czech professional league last season but …

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Author: Nick Richard / The Leafs Nation

Leafs Prospect Roundup: World Juniors cut short, Niemelä contract news, Miettinen finding his form

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After a few months of the hockey world starting to feel normal again, 2021 ended on a sour note as another wave of COVID brought things to a screeching halt. Despite the NHL instituing a league-wide shutdown just before Christmas, the IIHF decided to go forward with the World Juniors in Edmonton and Red Deer but were forced to cancel the tournament just a couple of days in as positive cases continued to cause disruptions and forfeited games. It was a disappointing conclusion to the annual holiday tournament but there is hope that it will eventually be played sometime in the spring or summer.
Leafs fans were still treated to a glimpse of a few of the organization’s top prospects, however brief. 2021 second rounder Matthew Knies scored the opening goal in Team USA’s only game of the tournament and had an impactful performance overall, showing signs of being a dominant player at the junior level. Finland managed to get a pair of games in, with Topi Niemelä and Roni Hirvonen each picking up a point in the process. It wasn’t the showcase everyone was hoping for but all of Knies, Niemelä, and Hirvonen provided …

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Author: Nick Richard / The Leafs Nation

2022 NHL Draft: Nick Richard’s December Top-32

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We are well into the NHL season and as the World Juniors draw near, it is time to turn our attention to the world of prospects. While fans are surely excited to see their team’s top youngsters suit up at the annual holiday tournament, some are already eyeing up the next crop of potential stars that could help push their team to the next level.
After a difficult 2020-21 season that saw several leagues forced to pause or cancel their seasons altogether, the 2021-22 season has brought a sense of normalcy with all major hockey leagues across the world returning to play. As players continue to emerge and establish themselves as legitimate NHL prospects, the top of the 2022 NHL Draft class has started to take shape.
My top-32 is made up of 23 forwards and nine defencemen, as this class lacks a high-end goalie prospect like we have seen in recent drafts. These rankings are based on a combination of my own personal viewings of these players as well as conversations I’ve had with other scouts in the public sphere. A lot can change before draft time rolls around but with a solid chunk of …

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Author: Nick Richard / The Leafs Nation

Leafs Prospect Roundup: Amirov’s lack of opportunity, Hirvonen heating up, Rubīns reaches the NHL

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With plenty of season behind us and the World Juniors rapidly approaching, it is a good time to take stock of where things stand in the prospect world. We will have plenty of content at The Leafs Nation this week, including an updated Leafs prospect ranking from Kyle Cushman and my December top-32 for the 2022 NHL Draft so be sure to check those out.
For now, let’s get to this week’s edition of the Leafs Prospect Roundup.
Rodion Amirov | W | Salavat Yulaev Ufa (KHL)
It has been a difficult season for Amirov. He got off to a great start in the preseason before suffering a shoulder injury that forced him to miss the beginning of the season and played just three games before suffering another injury that kept him out of action for close to two months. There was never much in the way of concrete information on Amirov’s latest injury but he has been deemed healthy enough to play, and after a three-game stint in the VHL, returned to Ufa’s lineup last Monday. He played just two shifts, managing an assist on one of them, but he appears to have lost …

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Author: Nick Richard / The Leafs Nation

Leafs Prospect Roundup: Woll exceeding expectations, Steeves’ strong start, Abramov adjusting to the AHL

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The Leafs’ core is built primarily upon a foundation of high-end talent that they have drafted and developed, but since the dawning of the Matthews/Marner/Nylander era, the organization has gotten very little in the way of contributions from players on entry level contracts. Yes, the Leafs have traded away some picks and prospects in the last couple of years but the lack of young, NHL-ready talent stems from some poor drafting in years prior.
It appears that the tide may be turning, however, as we have already seen players like Rasmus Sandin, Timothy Liljegren, and now Joseph Woll have positive impacts in the NHL this season – and it looks like the Leafs could be on their way to having a steady influx of young talent to continue to supplement the core of their roster for the foreseeable future.
Let’s get to it.
Joseph Woll | G | Toronto Maple Leafs (NHL)
To say that goaltenders are difficult to project would be a massive understatement. Joseph Woll’s numbers with Marlies through his first three professional seasons weren’t exactly pretty and, in turn, there wasn’t much in the way of expectations or excitement among …

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Author: Nick Richard / The Leafs Nation

Leafs Prospect Roundup: Liljegren looks legit, Voit stays hot, Tverberg trending up

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We’re just about halfway through November and the hockey calendar is in full swing with hot starts turning into big seasons and early-season disappointments turning into legitimate concerns. This past week also saw a “National Team Break” in Europe, giving us a look at what some countries might have planned for the upcoming World Juniors.
The Leafs have a few candidates to make their respective countries’ rosters and a couple of players who could play starring roles at the tournament.
Maple Leafs hopefuls for the World Juniors

 It’s always fun to look ahead with prospects but there is plenty to look back on from the last week as well. It’s a loaded Leafs Prospect Roundup today so let’s get to it.
Timothy Liljegren | RHD | Toronto Maple Leafs (NHL)
Liljegren was expected to get an opportunity to play for the Leafs this season but I don’t think many people expected him to steal a job by early November, and it appears that is exactly what he has done. Liljegren has been in the lineup for each of the Leafs’ last eight games – a span in which all of Justin Holl, Travis Dermott, …

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Author: Nick Richard / The Leafs Nation

Leafs Prospect Roundup: Amirov injury update, Niemelä not slowing down, Ovchinnikov’s opportunity

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It has been an uneven start – to say the least – for the Leafs who have faced plenty of adversity in the first couple weeks of their season. If that hasn’t been enough for the fanbase, the two top prospects in the organization are now on the shelf and expected to miss significant time.
But much like there have been scattered bright spots on the Leafs’ NHL roster during dark times, there are prospects within the system whose performances so far have helped ease the sting of other misfortunes. Before we take a look at some of the standouts from the past week, an update on the status of 2020 first-round pick Rodion Amirov:
Rodion Amirov | W | Salavat Yulaev Ufa (KHL)
Amirov has gotten into just three of Ufa’s 23 regular season contests so far and hasn’t suited up since September 29th due to an undisclosed injury. The exact nature of the injury remains a mystery but thanks to some great investigative work by The Athletic’s Joshua Kloke, we now have a bit more insight into Amirov’s current situation.

Another update: was told today by a Salavat Ufa spokesperson that Amirov is currently seeing …

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Author: Nick Richard / The Leafs Nation

Leafs Prospect Roundup: Eyes on Knies, Amirov’s absence, Tverberg on a tear

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As we enter the middle of October, the world is beginning to feel like it’s getting back to normal and hockey leagues all over the globe have gotten their schedules underway. The Leafs’ roster has been set to start the season and prospects have found their way back to their respective teams as they work towards finding their names on an opening night roster in the future.
A number of Leafs’ prospects are off to strong starts in the early part of the season so without further ado, let’s get to this week’s Leafs Prospect Roundup.
Timothy Liljegren | RHD | Toronto Maple Leafs (NHL)
Liljegren has made the Leafs’ roster out of training camp, and unlike years past where he initially broke camp with the team, is expected to factor in for them this season. He begins the season as Toronto’s seventh defenseman and while he didn’t get into the lineup for either of the first two games, the expectation is that he will see plenty of action this season. The Leafs have the option to work him into a rotation on the bottom pairing with Rasmus Sandin and Travis Dermott but …

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Author: Nick Richard / The Leafs Nation

Leafs Prospect Roundup: Robertson in the running, Amirov on the mend, Niemelä’s hot start

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The Leafs Prospect Roundup has returned for another season but we’ll be doing things a little bit differently this year. As always, we’ll be bringing you the latest news and highlights on players throughout the Leafs’ system and I’m excited to share that I will be teamed up with my TLN colleague Kyle Cushman to bring you the best in Leafs prospect coverage over the course of the season. In addition to Kyle and I sharing duties for the Leafs Prospect Roundup series, TLN’s own Nick Barden will once again be providing comprehensive coverage of the Toronto Marlies this season to keep you informed on the player’s closest to pushing for playing time with the Leafs.
Check out TLN’s Top 20 Leafs prospects:
Recapping TLN’s 2021 Leafs prospect rankings

Leafs training camp is in full swing, CHL seasons are getting going, and most European leagues have already gotten their regular seasons underway, leaving us with plenty to catch up on in the prospect world. Without further ado, let’s get to it.
Nick Robertson | W | Toronto Maple Leafs (NHL)
Robertson’s first professional season was a bit of a rollercoaster ride …

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Author: Nick Richard / The Leafs Nation

The 2021 Top 20 Leafs Prospects: #1 Rasmus Sandin

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Rasmus Sandin burst onto the scene after being drafted late in the first round of the 2018 NHL Draft, nearly making the Leafs’ roster on the back of an impressive training camp and preseason. He didn’t end up making the cut in that first year but the way he handled the transition to a professional setting as an 18-year-old defenseman made it clear very early on that Kyle Dubas and the Leafs’ scouting staff had unearthed a high-end prospect – even after trading down from 25th to 29th.
Kyle Dubas’ connection to the Soo Greyhounds – which is where Sandin played in his draft year – has been well documented and he saw value in the player that other NHL teams may have missed. Sandin has already played more NHL games than 15 of the players drafted ahead of him, trailing only Quinn Hughes, Rasmus Dahlin, Ty Smith, and Adam Boqvist in points per game among defensemen from the 2018 draft class. Now 21 years of age, he appears to be a lock to make the Leafs’ roster out of camp as a third pairing, powerplay quarterback.
Position: D
Age: 21
Height: 5’11”
Weight: 187 lbs
Drafted: 2018, First round, 29th overall
2020-21 Team: Toronto Maple …

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Author: Nick Richard / The Leafs Nation