2022 TLN Prospect Rankings: #11 Ryan Tverberg

“Your favourite Toronto Maple Leafs prospect you don’t know about yet.”
That’s the tagline I led with each time I wrote about Ryan Tverberg in the 2021-22 season for our TLN Prospect Roundups, which occurred often given the success he had last year. Over the course of the 2021-22 season, Tverberg went from an intriguing late-round swing to a legit prospect in the system with his breakout campaign at the University of Connecticut.
One of the biggest risers year over year, Ryan Tverberg goes from not even landing as an honourable mention on the TLN Top 20 rankings in 2021 to knocking on the door of the top 10 this time around.
Ryan Tverberg
RW | UConn (H-East) | Age: 20 | 6-foot-0 | 190 lbs | Shoots: RAcquired: 2020 Draft, 213th Overall | 2021 Ranking: N/A
Way back on Day 2 of the 2020 NHL Entry Draft, it appeared the Leafs were done following their 11th selection of the draft. It was a busy day for Toronto, moving up and down the draft board, but with 11 picks already made and no selections remaining for the team, it was more than fair to assume they were done at this point.
But Reid Mitchell, Director of Hockey and Scouting Operations for the Maple Leafs, had other plans. He was pushing hard for a player out o …

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Author: Kyle Cushman / The Leafs Nation

2022 TLN Prospect Rankings: #13 Mikko Kokkonen

Few players in the Toronto Maple Leafs system have a career progression as enigmatic as Mikko Kokkonen.
Kokkonen made his debut in the Finnish league at 15 years old and remains the youngest player in league history. By his draft year, he was a regular in the league, scoring the most points by a draft-eligible defenceman in Liiga in 17 years. When the Leafs drafted him in 2019 in the third round, it seemed like a no-brainer in terms of value at that selection.
However, his results have remained relatively stagnant in the three years since. As a result, Mikko Kokkonen falls down the TLN Top 20 Prospect Rankings for the second consecutive year, from #10 last summer to #13 in 2022.
Mikko Kokkonen
LD | Pelicans (Liiga) | Age: 21 | 5-foot-11 | 194 lbs | Shoots: LAcquired: 2019 Draft, 84th Overall | 2021 Ranking: #10
There was a sense of optimism surrounding Mikko Kokkonen heading into the 2021-22 season.
For starters, he was coming off of a strong showing at the end of the previous year, having joined the Toronto Marlies on an amateur try-out to finish the season. There, he produced seven points in 11 games, nearly matching the 10 points he scored in 39 more games during the Finnish league season.
Combined with his posit …

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Author: Kyle Cushman / The Leafs Nation

2022 TLN Prospect Rankings: #14 Mikhail Abramov

When Mikhail Abramov entered the Maple Leafs organization full time, there were plenty of question marks.
The 21-year-old seemed like the perfect pick for Toronto in the fourth round back in 2019. A six-foot tall centreman who was able to be dominant with the Victoriaville Tigres in the QMJHL — he was someone the Maple Leafs needed to pounce on.
One of the unfortunate parts for him, and for plenty of other NHL prospects, was the pandemic which slowed his development down. In his final season in the QMJHL, Abramov was the captain in Victoriaville but only wore the ‘C’ for 25 games.
And now, the 21-year-old is in the AHL, where plenty hope his game will evolve.
Mikhail Abramov
C | Toronto (AHL) | Age: 21 | 6-foot-0 | 161 lbs | Shoots: LAcquired: 2019 4th Round, 115th Overall | 2021 Ranking: 9
At the beginning of his first AHL season, many had question marks about whether Abramov would fit in the AHL right away. Obviously, he had the skillset, but did he have the ability to deal with the physicality of the AHL?
Short answer — yes. Long answer, we’ll see.
It was mostly an up and down season for the 21-year-old. When entering your first season of pro after having spent a few years in junior, there’s a lo …

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

2022 TLN Prospect Rankings: #19 William Villeneuve

The pandemic NHL Draft was one of the most interesting — the Maple Leafs and every other team in their own war room drafting players in October rather than June.
Toronto had 12 picks back in 2020, the most they’ve had in a draft since 1996. A number of good players were picked but the one we’re going to focus on today is William Villeneuve.
This is the first time he’s cracked the top-20 of The Leafs Nation’s Prospect Rankings and the 20-year-old is ready for his first year of pro. Villeneuve just finished his final season of junior, winning the Memorial Cup with the Saint John Sea Dogs at home.
William Villeneuve
RD | Saint John Sea Dogs | Age: 20 | 6-foot-2 | 181 lbs | Shoots: RAcquired: 2020 Draft, 122nd overall | 2021 Ranking: N/A
There’s a lot to look at with Villeneuve as a prospect. He’s got the size, at six-foot-two, but his weight still isn’t where it might need to be for pro. Yet that may be one of the only downsides to the 20-year-old’s last season in junior, and future as a pro.
One of the ways he’s able to shine is being a smart two-way defenceman. Villeneuve, in 64 games with the Sea Dogs this season, had eight goals and 46 assists for 56 points — all of that while still …

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

2022 TLN Prospect Rankings: #20 Max Ellis

When you lack draft capital as the Toronto Maple Leafs have over the past two seasons, making just eight selections over that span, one way to supplement the prospect pool is to dip into the undrafted free agent market.
Enter Max Ellis, the lone undrafted NCAA signing for Toronto this spring.
Ellis makes his debut on the TLN Prospect Rankings just inside the Top 20 after his impressive breakout season at Notre Dame. While his team-leading 16 goals and 28 points would suggest a straightforward, productive season for the 22-year-old winger, there is a lot more to Ellis’ season that makes him a fascinating new entry to the prospect pool.
Max Ellis
RW | Notre Dame (Big-10) | Age: 22 | 5-foot-9 | 165 lbs | Shoots: RAcquired: UDFA Signing, 4/8/22 | 2021 Ranking: N/A
Entering the 2021-22 season, Max Ellis had an opportunity to earn a spot on Notre Dame’s top line. The Fighting Irish were in need of a new top contributor following the departure of Alex Steeves, funnily enough to the Maple Leafs organization. Ellis had a good year in 2020-21, scoring 16 points in 24 games in his first full year of NCAA action after being limited to just eight games as a freshman, but was mainly used in a secondary role.
With Steeves moving on and no notable freshm …

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Author: Kyle Cushman / The Leafs Nation

TLN Prospect Rankings: Honourable Mentions

Our countdown of the top 20 prospects in the Maple Leafs’ system gets underway on Monday, and having already examined the players who graduated from last year’s list as well as the players who didn’t receive a vote for this year’s list, it is time to take a look at this year’s honourable mentions.
The following five players failed to crack our top 20 this time around, but they all received at least one vote from our team for this year’s ranking.
Brandon Lisowsky
W | Saskatoon (WHL) | 5’9″ | 172 lbs | Shoots: L 
Acquired: 2022 NHL Draft, seventh round, 218th overall | 2021 Ranking: N/A
The Leafs landed Lisowsky with their final selection in the 2022 draft at 218th overall, and while he is a long-term project, he has the potential to significantly outperform his draft slot over time. Many in the draft and scouting community had Lisowsky pegged to go much earlier than where the Leafs ultimately scooped him up – he landed in the 91st spot on TLN’s consolidated draft rankings and was ranked as high as 53rd on McKeen’s final list.
Lisowsky had a very productive draft year for Saskatoon, and his 33 goals were more than all WHL draft-eligibles aside from Matthew Savoie (9th overall) and Jagger Firkus (35th overall). He finished the year with 58 points in 68 games before adding another …

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Author: Nick Richard / The Leafs Nation

5 times a change of scenery revived a goalie’s career and how the Maple Leafs can learn from it

As it stands, the Toronto Maple Leafs have decided to enter the 2021-2022 NHL season with a couple of reclamation projects in net. It’s understandable that much of the fanbase would be upset about this, as goaltending is easily the sport’s most important position and can largely be blamed for many of Toronto’s failures over the past few seasons.
That said, the two goalies that will be battling for the job of Maple Leafs starters going into the season are ones with high upside and a proven track record of success before their recent struggles. Matt Murray had the unique distinction of winning two Stanley Cups as a rookie, stealing the net from Marc-André Fleury during the 2016 playoffs with only 13 NHL games under his belt, allowing him to remain a rookie for next season when the Penguins went back-to-back.
Meanwhile, Ilya Samsonov comes to Toronto after failing to meet expectations in Washington. The former first round put up stunning numbers in three KHL seasons after being selected by the Capitals in the first round, followed by a great rookie season in 2019-2020. Since then however, Samsonov has struggled to replicate those numbers and ultimately Washington let him explore free agency despite a strong performance in the 2022 playoffs.
The Maple Leafs are putting a lot of fa …

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Author: Filipe Dimas / The Leafs Nation

Notes and quotes from Day 2 of the Maple Leafs development camp

It was a much shorter Day 2 of Toronto Maple Leafs development camp in terms of the media availabilities, as much of the higher profile attendees had their availabilities yesterday.
Still, the likes of Ryan Tverberg, Nick Moldenhauer, William Villeneuve, and Max Ellis all had a couple of interesting tidbits in their brief meetings with the media yesterday at development camp.
For more from Day 2 of development camp, be sure to check out Nick Barden’s story from yesterday.
Ryan Tverberg
On his experience at Canada’s World Junior camp
“There was lots of things to take away [from World Junior camp], being around great players there. Driving to do more, ‘why not me’ the next time. Just working harder, using it as fuel.”
Tverberg’s emergence during the 2021-22 season was incredible to watch, as he went from a bottom-six player as a freshman to an offensive driver and Canadian World Junior camp invite as a sophomore.
As noted by Dr. Hayley Wickenheiser on Day 1 of development camp, Tverberg was the final cut for Team Canada heading into the original 2022 World Juniors. With the rescheduled tournament quickly approaching in August, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Tverberg end up on the roster if any of the previous talents are not made available by their NHL team. Not bad for a seventh-round pick out of the OJHL.
On what he wants to take away from camp
“I just want to adapt and play against different styles of hockey players and use the ways that they’re teaching us. T …

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Author: Kyle Cushman / The Leafs Nation

3 Players who’ve distanced themselves early at Leafs development camp

The second day of Maple Leafs development camp ended just as fast as it began and a few players have started distancing themselves from the pack.
When Max Ellis signed with Toronto back in April, there wasn’t much known about him. A small forward who had plenty of speed and skill was really all the information that we had. The 22-year-old, though, begins his two-year entry-level deal this season and wants to grow as much as possible.
“It meant the world. To be with a storied franchise as great as the Maple Leafs, it was absolutely fantastic,” Ellis said about signing with Toronto. “It’s a dream come true. It’s even better when you get here, when you meet all the people, the fantastic staff they have from equipment manager to coaches, I think everybody is super helpful and nice.”
The 22-year-old was a part of the second group of skaters on Tuesday, which featured the likes of Matthew Knies, Fraser Minten, and Axel Rindell. From watching him in the two AHL games, to now, you can see why the Maple Leafs saw so much from him.
Although he’s small, standing at five-foot-nine, his skill and strength on the puck makes up for it. On Tuesday, it seemed like Ellis was at …

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

Maple Leafs sign Calle Järnkrok to four-year, $2.1 million AAV contract

The Maple Leafs announced on Friday that the club has signed forward Calle Järnkrok to a four-year contract, carrying an annual cap hit of $2.1 million dollars. Järnkrok split last season between Seattle and Calgary, registering 12 goals and 18 assists in 66 games before adding another four points in 12 postseason contests for the Flames.

We’ve signed forward Calle Järnkrok to a four-year contract.#LeafsForever
— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) July 15, 2022

A native of Sweden, the soon-to-be 31-year-old Järnkrok has suited up in 574 regular season NHL games over nine seasons between Nashville, Seattle, and Calgary, tallying 106 goals to go along with 135 assists for his career. He is known more as a versatile player who can play down the middle or on the wing while providing solid defensive value.

Calle Jarnkrok, signed 4x$2.1M by TOR, is a versatile defensive third line forward who can score goals and draw penalties but otherwise possesses a very limited offensive skill-set. Takes very few penalties. #LeafsForever pic.twitter.com/g211V2NigK
— JFresh (@JFreshHockey) July 15, 2022

Järnkrok isn’t a huge offense driver but has shown the ability to finish scoring chances, netting 15 or more goals four times in his career. He blends good speed with a quality release to be an effective secondary scoring option who can fill various roles up and down the lineup. While his greatest contributions will come on the defensive side of the puck, Järnkrok should inject a bit more scoring touch to the Leafs’ bottom-six forward group.

Well how do yah do, Calle Jarnkrokpic.twitter.com/dr7pgkVgFA
— NHL (@NHL) November 22, 2021

At first glance, Järnkrok looks like a great fit to replace some of what Ondřej Kaše provided to the club last season while playing alongside David Kämpf and shouldering difficult minutes against other teams’ best players. Järnkrok doesn’t carry the same kind of injury history as Kaše and as a result, provides a bit more certainty for the Leafs as they continue to build out their lineup.
With a four-year term, Järnkrok is locked in longer than any player on the Leafs’ roster aside from Morgan Rielly, whose eight-year extension kicks in this coming season.
Alex Kerfoot has just one year remaining on his current contract, and if the club decides to shop him around in an effort to clear additional salary cap spac …

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Author: Nick Richard / The Leafs Nation