The Toronto Maple Leafs organization has drafted and developed a number of youngsters currently playing in the NHL like Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, William Nylander, Pierre Engvall, Travis Dermott and Justin Holl, but the next step for the club under GM Kyle Dubas 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 year, we will rank the club’s top prospects over the next few weeks based on their progress in either the NCAA, CHL, Europe, ECHL or AHL and their potential to make the Leafs roster and make a contribution in the future.
Players are eligible for the list if they have not played more than 40 NHL games:
#40 – J.D. Greenway – D (Maine – NCAA)
#39 – Eemeli Rasanen – D (HPK – Finland SM-Liiga)
#38 – Jeremy McKenna – RW (Moncton – QMJHL)
#37 – Ryan O’Connell – D (Ohio State – NCAA)
#36 – Veeti Miettinen – RW (St. Cloud St. – NCAA
#35 - Semyon Kizimov – RW (Lada Togliatti – VHL / Torpedo – KHL)
#34 - Kalle Loponen – D (Karpat – Finland SM-Liiga)
#33 - Vladislav Kara – LW (Cherepovets Severstal – KHL)
#32 - John Fusco – D (Harvard – NCAA)
#31 - Wyatt Schingoethe – C (Waterloo – USHL)
#30 - William Villeneuve – D (Saint John – QMJHL)
#29 - Joe Miller – C (Chicago – USHL)
The Toronto Maple Leafs had a dozen picks in the 2020 NHL Draft and every one of the half dozen picks in the sixth and seventh round were players either bound for four years in the NCAA or a longer development track in Europe. With their third pick in the sixth round (180th overall), Toronto selected center Joe Miller.
The 18-year-old was the youngest draft-eligible player in the 2020 Draft and a prospect of the USHL’s Chicago Steel who was recruited and scouted by Toronto Marlies head coach Greg Moore. A scoring star at Blake High School in Minnesota, Miller scored 59 points (25 goals, 34 assists) in 25 games in his senior season. Committed to the University of Minnesota next season, Miller is playing this year for the Steel and is scoreless in five games.
“(Miller) is a really underdeveloped young man, with blazing speed, can score.” Leafs Director of Amateur Scouting John Lilley said. “Just as a lot of upside, a lot of growth his game. We just value the speed and the skill.”
The youngster is on the small side (5’9”, 146 lb.), but according to the HockeyProspect.com Black Book “can overcome some of his physical attributes with his willingness to go to and navigate in the high traffic areas. He has good hands and quick stickhandling ability, and he thinks the game quickly offensively (and) can expose gaps in coverages and thread passes through tight spaces to find teammates in the offensive zone and can beat defenders one on one with his skill.”
*******If you are interested in sponsorship or advertising your business in the Greater Toronto / Southern Ontario area on this column, please send a message for more information by clicking on the “Contact” button at the top of the page.*******