2022 TLN Prospect Rankings: The No Vote Club

The 2022 TLN prospect rankings officially began yesterday, as Jon Steitzer opened the festivities by looking at the players who graduated from last summer’s rankings. We aren’t at the top 20 just quite yet, though, as first, we need to take a brief look at each of the players who did not receive a single top 20 vote this year.
First, a reminder of the criteria to be eligible for this year’s rankings. To be considered a prospect in the TLN rankings, the player must be under the age of 24 and has to have played 41 or fewer games (no more than the equivalent of half a regular season.) It should also be clear the player has to be on the Maple Leafs reserve list. No players that are on AHL or ECHL deals are included in the rankings. We’ve also excluded goaltenders from the rankings. Both prospects on AHL/ECHL contracts as well as the goaltenders in the pipeline will be discussed throughout the next month, just not as part of the actual rankings themselves.
John Fusco
RD | 5’11 | 181 lbs | Shoots: R | Harvard (ECAC) | Acquired: 2020 7th Round, 189th Overall
Despite being 21 years old and entering his DY+4 season in 2022-23, John Fusco has played a minimal amount of hockey at a high level.
When he was drafted as an overage prospect in 2020, Fusco was still playing in the United States High School Prep system with Dexte …

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Author: Kyle Cushman / The Leafs Nation

Getting Matthew Knies after the NCAA season might be the biggest splash the Leafs can make this year

Yesterday Nick Barden wrote about how Matthew Knies enjoys the pressure that comes with being a top prospect in the Leafs organization. That’s probably a good thing because whether he likes it or not, there seems to be a need for him to hit the ground running as soon as the NCAA Frozen Four tournament wraps up.
We’ll have a lot more on Knies this summer as the World Juniors start, and as TLN embarks on our prospect rankings, but given that Knies isn’t likely a name to come up at the backend of the countdown, we’ll address that need for him to be the big body second line left winger the Leafs haven’t been able to find elsewhere.
By his NCAA numbers, we’ve been given a lot of reasons to be excited:

Knies is very much already at the top of the NCAA game and is going back to school largely because he wishes to have another go at the Frozen Four and not necessarily because the Leafs think he needs to be there. That’s somewhat admirable on his part, and one that could set the Leafs up for a nice little late season push.
That doesn’t change that asking a rookie to fix an area of need in the top six isn’t a complete gamble, but that’s one largely of the Leafs own making.
Quite simply, the Leafs don’t have the money now for an impact player. Sure, trades exist, but that is dependent on a GM looking for them, and often players are willing to waive their no trade clauses to make it happen. Options are limited.
Over the course of a season injuries will happen, and the Leafs may have the opportunity to use that LTIR relief in order to explore roster upgrades. This is also a bit of a flawed premise as it is likely wherever the injury has occurred, that’s where their need is going to be, not to mention the distasteful premise of hoping the right player gets injured for the right amount of time in order to have wiggle room at the trade deadline.
Nope, we’re back to putting a lot of eggs in Matthew Knies’ basket, and the unfair pressure that comes with that.
Still, a player that made the (non-NHL) Olympic team before he finished his first year of college likely has a lot to offer. And if we didn’t get a chance to see much of what that is in development camp, we’ll get to see it s …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

6 notable games to watch during the Toronto Maple Leafs’ 2022-23 season and some schedule details

Just yesterday we got the notification that the Toronto Maple Leafs had released their 2022-23 pre-season schedule, and just like every fan, we looked at who Toronto would be playing and when they would be playing those games. Well, not even 24 hours later and we get to see the entire 2022-23 regular season schedule for this upcoming season.
With that being said, let’s take a look at six notable games you should watch during the Toronto Maple Leafs’ 2022-23 season as well as some details in the schedule too.
Before we take a look at some notable games to watch this upcoming season, let’s go over some important details in Toronto’s schedule, like longest homestand, longest road trip, how many back-to-backs, etc.
California trip: October 27-30 – (SJ, LA, ANA)
Western Canadian trip: March 1-4 – (EDM, CGY, VAN)
Longest homestand: 5 games – (Jan. 23-Feb. 1, NYI, NYR, OTT, WSH, BOS)
Longest road trip: 5 games three times – (Oct. 22-30, WPG, VGK, SJ, LA, ANA), (Feb. 26-Mar. 7, SEA, EDM, CGY, VAN, NJ), (Mar. 18-26, OTT, NYI, FLA, CAR, NSH)
Busiest month: November – 15 games
Least busy month: April – 8 games
Back-to-backs: 14 – 2 in October, 3 in November, 2 in January, 2 in February, 3 in March, 2 in April
Longest break in between games: 8 days – February 2 …

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Author: Joseph Zita / The Leafs Nation