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
#22 – Nick Abruzzese - Center, Chicago Steel – USHL
#21 – Teemu Kivihalme - Defense, Karpat – SM-Liiga
#20 – Riley Stotts - Center, Calgary – WHL
#19 – Filip Kral (Defense, Spokane Chiefs – WHL)
#18 – Mikko Kokkonen (Defense, Jukurit Mikkeli – SM Liiga)
#17 – Jesper Lindgren (Defense, HPK – SM Liiga / Toronto Marlies – AHL
#16 – Joseph Duszak (Defense, Mercyhurst – NCAA / Toronto Marlies - AHL)
#15 – Mac Hollowell (Defense, Soo Greyhounds – OHL / Toronto Marlies - AHL)
The Toronto Maple Leafs have been more open to selecting overage players in recent drafts, but in the third round of the 2018 Draft, GM Kyle Dubas went to the other extreme and selected the youngest player available in Russian center Semyon Der-Argushintsev. SDA was 17 years old when selected 76th overall by the Leafs after scoring 51 points (12 goals, 39 assists) in 68 games with the OHL’s Peterborough Petes.
Known for his playmaking, stick handling and hockey IQ, SDA signed an entry-level contract with Toronto during last year’s training camp and saw some preseason action before being sent back to the OHL, which is indicative of the Leafs seeing great potential in him.
Not gifted with great speed, SDA grew to 5’11” last season and put on some muscle, but took a step back in his third OHL season, dropping slightly to 46 points in 62 games and scoring only six goals. Following the elimination of the Petes in the first round of the OHL Playoffs, the 18-year-old joined the ECHL’s Newfoundland Growlers at the end of the regular season and played nine playoff games on their way to a Kelly Cup title.
Since he is already signed to an ELC, Toronto will let SDA play another full season in the OHL alongside teammate and Leafs 2019 second round pick Nick Robertson, since he will not be eligible to play for the Marlies until 2020.
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