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Leafs Top-40 Prospect List - #24

August 19, 2022, 12:34 AM ET [67 Comments]
Mike Augello
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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)

#24 - Axel Rindell – D (Karpat – Finland SM-Liiga)

After years of not exploring the fertile hockey ground of Finland in the draft, the Toronto Maple Leafs invested heavily in consecutive drafts, selecting a half dozen players in 2019 and 2020.

In the sixth round of the 2020 Draft (177th overall), the Leafs selected defenseman Axel Rindell. A teammate of 2019 third-rounder Mikko Kokkonen, the 22-year-old blueliner was the oldest of Toronto’s 12 selections and the only overager drafted by the club in 2020.

“He's a 2000 (birth year), so he is a little bit older, a little bit of a late bloomer.” former Leafs Director of Amateur Scouting John Lilley said. “(He) moves the puck well, can skate well, so another guy that we valued where we took him. We think he's got upside and plays the right way.”

Rindell was eligible but went undrafted in 2018 and 2019, playing in the Finnish junior levels. The blueliner is a converted forward and gained notice after being called up by Jukurit in the SM-Liiga and registering 22 points (6 goals, 16 assists) in 47 games in his draft year.

In his sophomore season in the SM-liiga, Rindell improved slightly on his offensive totals with 26 points (7 goals, 19 assists) in 47 games, but last year he split time between Jukurit and Karpat, and saw a dip in his production, with 17 points (1 goal, 16 assists) in 42 games.

HockeyProspect.com’s Black Book says that Rindell “loves to rush the puck from his own zone” and “has fine straight-away speed, above-average agility” and “good footwork”, but his puck skills are inconsistent. The defensive side is the aspect of his game that needs the most work, which could be an element that will improve with time.


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