The Toronto Maple Leafs organization has drafted and developed a number of youngsters currently playing in the NHL, but with players like Kasperi Kapanen, Andreas Johnsson and Travis Dermott on their roster, the next step for the club is to keep replenishing the prospect pool to provide the Leafs with youngsters who can step up and replace veterans who retire, depart via free agency or are traded.
As we did last summer, we will rank the club’s top 25 prospects over the next few weeks based on their progress in either the NCAA, CHL, Europe or the American Hockey League and their potential to make the Leafs roster and make a contribution in the future.
Players are not eligible for the list if they are 25 years old or over, or if they have played more than 30 NHL games:
Top 25 list
#25 – Eemeli Rasanen - Defense, Jokerit – KHL / Toronto Marlies – AHL
#24 – Pontus Holmberg – Left Wing, Vaxjo HC – SHL
#23 – Mikhail Abramov – Center, Victoriaville – QMJHL
2018 Ranking – Not Ranked
The Toronto Maple Leafs have adopted the different draft philosophy under GM Kyle Dubas, focusing mostly on high-level skill, skating ability and hockey IQ and with less emphasis on size and physicality. That showed at the 2018 Draft in Dallas with defenseman Rasmus Sandin’s selection in the first round, and the picks of diminutive center Semyon Der-Argushintsev, blueliner Mac Hollowell and Pontus Holmberg.
That continued at the 2019 Draft in Vancouver with top pick Nick Robertson of the Peterborough Petes and fourth rounder Mikhail Abramov.
Abramov was selected with the first of Toronto’s two fourth-round picks (115th overall) after a solid debut season with the QMJHL’s Victoriaville Tigers. The Moscow native spent his developmental years in the CSKA Moscow system before heading to North America in 2018.
The 18-year-old center scored 54 points (16 goals, 38 assists) in 62 games and finished third in points on the Tigers, and averaged nearly a point-per-game (1 goal, 6 assists) in 8 games during the QMJHL Playoffs.
At 5’11” 154 lbs., Abramov relies mostly on his skating ability and edgework to create offensive chances, is an excellent playmaker with good vision and possesses a good shot. Similar to the model that the Leafs have followed with many of their forward prospects, the club will show patience and allow the talented Russian to mature with Victoriaville, hoping that he puts up big offensive numbers in the more wide-open Q and that with the possibility of playing for Russia internationally over the next two years.
A strong effort by Mikhail Abramov to keep the puck from crossing the line before scoring on an individual chance makes it 3-3. Tie game again. #WJACpic.twitter.com/8TjnFGmCNc
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