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)
2018 Ranking – 18
Part of the first draft class under Kyle Dubas, the Toronto Maple Leafs GM relied on familiarity in selecting Sault Ste. Marie blueliner Rasmus Sandin in the first round and following that with another Greyhound in Mac Hollowell in the fourth round in 2018.
The Niagara Falls, ON native attended the Leafs Development Camp in 2017 after not being selected at the NHL Draft in Chicago and was 19 when Toronto selected him 118th overall in Dallas. After more than doubling his point total with the Soo in 2018, Hollowell led the Ontario Hockey League in points (77) and goals (24) by a defenseman last season.
You can tell a player is a former Soo Greyhound by their ability to make a slip-pass under pressure.
After the Greyhounds were eliminated in the OHL Playoffs, Hollowell joined the Toronto Marlies and after some injuries to more experienced blueliners, the 20-year-old was inserted into the lineup in the first round series against the Rochester Americans. He played nine postseason games and registered an assist, played left defense at times and also partnering with Soo teammate Sandin.
Hollowell has excellent skating ability and offensive tools that compensate for his lack of size(5’10”, 170 lb.) and will be tested by getting more responsibilities and ice time in the AHL next season.
Being a righty and the type of defenseman that Dubas favors, Hollowell could end up being the Toronto version of Torey Krug, but he will need to show a lot of growth in his game over the next one or two years to get his chance in the NHL.
*******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.*******