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The Toronto Maple Leafs organization has drafted and developed a number of youngsters currently playing in the NHL (Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, William Nylander, Pierre Engvall, and Justin Holl), but the club under GM Kyle Dubas has 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 upcoming 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 - Vladislav Kara – LW (Yugra - VHL)
#39 - Kalle Loponen – D (Koo Koo Kouvola/JyP HT – Finland SM-Liiga)
#38 - Jeremy McKenna – RW (Wichita – ECHL, Toronto – AHL)
#37 - John Fusco – D (Harvard – NCAA)
#36 - Noel Hoefenmayer – D (Newfoundland – ECHL, Toronto – AHL)
#35 - Ryan Chyzowski - LW (Newfoundland - ECHL, Toronto - AHL)
#34 - Braeden Kressler - C (Flint - OHL)
#33 - Nikita Grebyonkin - RW (Stalnye Lisy - MHL, Magnitogorsk - KHL)
#32 - Vyacheslav Peksa - G (Ibris Kazan - MHL)
#31 - Dryden McKay - G (Minnesota Duluth - NCAA)
#30 - Bobby McMann - C (Newfoundland - ECHL, Toronto - AHL)
#29 - Pavel Gogolev – LW (Newfoundland - ECHL, Toronto – AHL)
#28 - Joe Miller – C (Chicago – USHL)
#27 - Veeti Miettinen – RW (St. Cloud St. – NCAA)
#26 - Brandon Lisowsky - LW (Saskatoon - WHL)
#25 - Max Ellis - RW (Notre Dame - NCAA, Toronto - AHL)
The Leafs continue to scour the US College, European and CHL ranks for potential hidden gems that can be developed into useful players. After having just three picks in the 2021 Draft, Toronto looked to the free agent route to add more to their prospect pool and signed forward Max Ellis to a two-year entry-level contract.
The Plymouth, Michigan native was teammates with Notre Dame alum and Marlies forward Alex Steeves for two seasons and led the Fighting Irish in goals (16) and points (28) last season.
The winger played two seasons with Youngstown in the USHL and opted for the NCAA over playing with OHL Peterborough due in part to his lack of size (5’9”, 141 lbs.). After three years at Notre Dame, the 22-year-old is now 165 lbs. and more able to withstand the rigors of professional hockey.
Ellis “is a hardworking, but skilled forward who brings consistent effort and skill on every shift. He has good edge work, uses it to be quick and relentless in puck pursuits, reads the play well at both ends of the ice, and often is the one making the play in his own end to stop the cycle and clear the zone if his team was getting pressured.” The HockeyProspect.com Black Book said in 2018. “Offensively, he makes a lot of good plays off the rush, he has quick hands and is able to change the angle of his pass or shot and get the puck where he wants it to go.”