Breaking down the Maple Leafs rookie tournament roster

With development camp all wrapped up, the Toronto Maple Leafs officially announced their roster for the upcoming Traverse City rookie tournament, which begins Thursday.
The 39 man development camp roster was cut down to 28 players, with just one player not at development camp being added to the rookie tournament roster in Marlies signing Matt Hellickson.

Our 2021 Prospect Tournament roster has been announced.
Details » https://t.co/LValXl4oAD#LeafsForever pic.twitter.com/MMmQgxvIRi
— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) September 14, 2021

Let’s begin with the players that attended development camp that won’t be going to Traverse City with the Leafs.

Player
League
Landon Cato
OHL
Ryan Del Monte
OHL
Christian Fitzgerald
USHL
Taylor Gauthier
WHL
Jacob Guevin
USHL
Lukas Gustafsson
USHL
Braden Holt
WHL
Filip Kral
AHL
Francesco Lapenna
QMJHL
Joe Miller
USHL
Ethan Peters
WHL
Theo Rochette
QMJHL
Sam Sedley
OHL
Lawson Sherk
OHL
Of this group, just two were not invites and are prospects affiliated with the Leafs. Filip Kral suffered a rib injury at development camp, while Joe Miller is returning to Chicago ahead of the USHL season which begins next week.
Given the USHL were sent back to their club teams due to the start of the season …

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Author: Kyle Cushman / The Leafs Nation

Toronto Maple Leafs forward Auston Matthews is on schedule to return for opening night

About a month ago, Toronto Maple Leafs forward Auston Matthews underwent successful wrist surgery after dealing with a nagging injury throughout the season. It’s honestly crazy that Matthews was playing with basically one wrist at points of last season and still ended up leading the NHL in goals with 41 and ultimately winning his first Rocket Richard. In all seriousness, we’re all glad he got the surgery to help his wrist because clearly, it was bothering him at points last season when he sat out multiple games at once and it also affected his playoff performance as well.
It’s being reported by Luke Fox of Sportsnet that the Maple Leafs forward sat down for a recording with Elliotte Friedman and Jeff Marek for their newest 31 Thoughts podcast episode that is releasing in the near future and he explained that he is well on track to return by opening night to face the Montreal Canadiens.
 

Auston Matthews’ left wrist is on track to be operational for Opening Night with the Toronto Maple Leafs’ star saying he’s “definitely not worried about it” during a recording of the 31 Thoughts podcast. (By @lukefoxjukebox) https://t.co/XUzT2bQ2tZ
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) September 13, 2021



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Author: Joseph Zita / The Leafs Nation

Notes and quotes from Day 2 of the Leafs development camp

 
Day 2 of the Toronto Maple Leafs development camp is in the books.
The halfway point of development camp was marked by the first of two scrimmages to take place during the four-day event, as well as media availabilities from Semyon Der-Arguchintsev, Pavel Gogolev, and Ty Voit.
I’m not sure why, but unlike years past the scrimmage between Team Blue and Team White was not live-streamed and no game recap has been posted. Instead, we got select clips on the Maple Leafs Twitter feed, of which not even each goal was shared.
Regardless, here are the highlights we did actually get from the first scrimmage of development camp, a 5-4 victory for Team White:
Team White Goal, 1-0: Jacob Guevin (No highlight)
Team Blue Goal, 1-1: Nick Robertson from Braeden Kressler

@nickrobertson01 sneaks one home pic.twitter.com/l626BcOcyG
— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) September 11, 2021

Team White Goal, 2-1: Jordan Frasca (No highlight)
Team White Goal, 3-1: Alex Steeves from Pavel Gogolev

Gogolev with the dish, Steeves with the finish pic.twitter.com/hbq4IRHoI2
— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) September 11, 2021

Team White Goal, 4-1: Lukas Gustafsson from Jacob Guevin

Lukas Gustafsson gettin’ nifty pic.twitter.com/BmWXFqsqoZ
— Toronto Maple Leafs (@ …

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Author: Kyle Cushman / The Leafs Nation

The 2021 Top 20 Leafs Prospects: #3 Rodion Amirov

On August 25th, 2020, the Toronto Maple Leafs sent Kasperi Kapanen, Pontus Aberg, and Jesper Lindgren to the Penguins for three players, and the 15th overall pick in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft. Those players have all come and gone, but with that pick the Leafs selected LW Rodion Amirov. It’s the highest Toronto has drafted since selecting Auston Matthews 1st overall in 2016, a pick they couldn’t afford to miss on.
So far, it’s been a hit. After being drafted Amirov would finish out the 20-21 KHL season with 13 points in 39 games, more than any other player in their true draft+1 that year. He also led Russia in points at the World Juniors, wearing the “A” on his chest. When playing against his age group, Amirov just exudes excellence with the puck on his stick. Even at the pro level, he plays as if he is entitled to possessing the puck before his opponent.
Position: LW
Age: 19
Height: 6’0″
Weight: 168 Lbs
Drafted: 2020 1st Round, 15th Overall
2020-21 Team: Salavat Yulaev Ufa, KHL
2020 Prospect Ranking: 3rd
I wrote two articles ahead of that draft mentioning Amirov, first about the handful of 20-21 KHL games he played before the draft:
We …

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Author: Earl Schwartz / The Leafs Nation

Maple Leafs announce 2021 development camp roster

Hockey is back, kind of.
The Toronto Maple Leafs have announced the 2021 development camp roster, which begins on September 9th.

The 2021 Development Camp roster has been announced.
Details » https://t.co/b9i3Idsbpc#LeafsForever pic.twitter.com/H23Hy5qSKq
— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) September 7, 2021

Invited to the camp are some names we already know such as Nick Robertson, Semyon Der-Arguchintsev, Pavel Gogolev, Jeremy McKenna, Joseph Duszak, and even Ian Scott. Others who’ve seen games within the Maple Leafs organization are Filip Kral, William Villeneuve, Noel Hoefenmayer and Riley McCourt.
With the start of camp being on September 9th, players will arrive and begin with both medicals and on-ice testing. On Friday, September 10th, the players will have their first on-ice session as a team and will meet with the media.
From the media release, this is the schedule for their development camp:
Friday, September 10
On-Ice Development: 2:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Saturday, September 11
On-Ice Development/ Morning Skate: 9:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. Scrimmage: 4:00 p.m.
Sunday, September 12
On-Ice Development: 10:15 a.m. – 11:15 a.m.
Monday, September 13
Scrimmage: 10:00 a.m.
The Leafs Senior Director of Player Development, Hayley Wickenheiser, will run the the camp along with her staff. Others who will …

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

Marlies who could make the Leafs opening night roster

Marlies who could make the Leafs opening night roster

The Toronto Maple Leafs have a packed roster. Period.
After signing players like Ondrej Kase, Nick Ritchie and Michael Bunting, the chances of players from the Marlies coming up and starting the season with the Leafs is very small. However, there’s always a small window that comes in training camp where players could steal a spot on the roster.
As it stands right now, I’d say that Bunting and Ritchie are playing in the top-six, with one being on Auston Matthews’ wing and the other on John Tavares’. And while things can change, I’d like to believe that Mitch Marner and William Nylander are still on their same wings as last season.
There is always a possibility that Sheldon Keefe comes in and shakes things up. But for now, I think the Leafs lineup will look like this:
Bunting-Matthews-Marner
Ritchie-Tavares-Nylander
Mikheyev-Kerfoot-Kase
Kampf-Spezza-Simmonds
Rielly-Brodie
Muzzin-Holl
Sandin-Dermott
Marlies who could make the jump
Last season, the Leafs had plenty of players in their development system who were more than worthy of NHL gigs. It’s just so difficult because Kyle Dubas likes to continuously add depth in case of injury. I do want to clarify that it’s not …

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

Is it time for the Maple Leafs to change their goal song?

Is it time for the Maple Leafs to change their goal song?

There’s been a lot of debate around the Maple Leafs’ goal song recently. Since the start of the 2018 season, Toronto has used ‘You Make My Dreams’ by Hall and Oates when the team scores. It’s a classic song that has been used in movies such as Step Brothers, and even Despicable Me 2.
Part of me agrees with the crowd who wants the song changed — it would be nice to hear something new. The other part of me disagrees and thinks with this being such a staple in hockey arenas, you can’t take it away.
It’s such an interesting debate because we have such a diverse fanbase, and everyone has their own opinions.
Some might want old-school rock, some might pick rap, and others may want to support the local musicians like Arkells, Shawn Mendes, Drake, or Justin Bieber. When picking a song for when the Leafs score, you cannot miss. It has to reach everyone in some sort of way or it just won’t work.
I thought Hall and Oates achieved that with this song, but after three years, people want something new.
Songs get old after a while and that’s okay. Again though, …

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

The 2021 Top 20 Leafs Prospects: #5 Topi Niemelä

Back in October 2020, the Maple Leafs traded back from pick 44 to acquire two picks on the virtual draft floor of the 2020 NHL Entry Draft. The first of those picks, selection number 59, was used on Finnish centreman Roni Hirvonen, who has grown into an intriguing prospect in his own right for the Maple Leafs. The other prospect the Maple Leafs parlayed that 44th pick into, pick 64, ultimately turned into arguably the best defensive prospect in the entire Maple Leafs’ system in Topi Niemela.
Niemela burst onto the scene for Maple Leafs fans with his 2021 World Junior Championship tournament performance, a spectacle that culminated with him winning the tournament’s Best Defenceman honours. In the months that followed, however, as fans turned their attention away from the youngster and towards the NHL club, Niemela continued to grow his game, and now finds himself as a huge part of the Toronto Maple Leafs’ future plans.
Position: Right Defence
Age: 19
Height: 5’11
Weight: 165 lbs
Drafted: 64th Overall, 2019 NHL Draft by The Toronto Maple Leafs
2020-21 Teams: Oulun Kärpät, Liiga (15 GP)
2020 Prospect Ranking: #9
 
Overview
Niemela’s past 10 months as a Toronto Maple Leafs prospect have been practically nothing but upward momentum. Even as the …

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Author: Jori Negin-Shecter / The Leafs Nation

The 2021 Top 20 Leafs Prospects: #9 Mikhail Abramov

After a couple of seasons where the Toronto Maple Leafs have struggled to graduate prospects on entry-level contracts to the NHL lineup, their 2019 draft class will be looking to change that narrative. Four of Toronto’s selections in that draft feature inside our top 10 and fourth-round pick Mikhail Abramov is a big part of that group.
Abramov falling three positions, from 6th in 2020 to 9th, is extremely harsh. A breakout campaign in 2019/20 saw him shoot up the rankings, but similar results in 2020/21 from the year prior were not enough to maintain his rank with some of the Leafs 2020 draft class seeing breakout seasons of their own.
Still, after captaining the Victoriaville Tigres to a QMJHL championship, a three-position fall is not an indication of the year Abramov had. Making the transition to the professional game in 2021 with the Marlies, Abramov will be high on the list of Leafs prospects to keep an eye on this upcoming season.
Position: Centre
Age: 20
Height: 6’0
Weight: 185 lbs
Drafted: 115th Overall, 2019 NHL Draft by Toronto
2020-21 Team: Victoriaville, QMJHL
2020 Prospect Ranking: #6
Mikhail Abramov took a massive step forwards in 2019/20, and while he didn’t take another big leap forwards in 2020/21, he maintained a lot of …

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Author: Kyle Cushman / The Leafs Nation

The 2021 Top 20 Leafs Prospects: #11 Joey Anderson

Joey Anderson is a strange player in the Toronto Maple Leafs prospect pool.
Usually, players that have 53 games of NHL experience aren’t put into the “prospect” category. Anderson is somewhat of an exception, though, having played most of the past two seasons in the AHL and still being only 23 years of age. The yo-yo type career Anderson has had since turning pro combined with a lacklustre stat line from last season make him a tricky player to rank, evident in the fact he drops from #7 in our previous rankings to #11 this time around.
Still, Joey Anderson is right on the edge of the NHL. His 2020/21 campaign raised more questions than it did provide answers, and this upcoming season for Anderson is a pivotal one for his career.
Position: Right Wing
Age: 23
Height: 5’11
Weight: 190 lbs
Drafted: 73rd Overall, 2016 NHL Draft by New Jersey
2020-21 Team: Toronto Marlies, AHL (1 GP with the Maple Leafs)
2020 Prospect Ranking: #7
Anderson is the first player on our prospect rankings that was not acquired via the draft or as an undrafted free agent. Rather, Anderson was brought in last offseason in a one-for-one swap deal, with Andreas Johnsson heading to the New Jersey Devils.
Given reports …

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Author: Kyle Cushman / The Leafs Nation