The Toronto Maple Leafs have until next Monday(June 1) to sign 20-year-old prospects Riley Stotts and Zachary Bouthillier or they will re-enter the NHL Draft whenever it takes place later in the year.
Stotts was the Toronto’s second selection in the third round (83rd overall) in 2018. The Winnipeg, MB native scored a career-high 68 points (25 goals, 43 assists) in 64 games, finishing in a tie for the scoring lead of the WHL’s Calgary Hitmen last season.
HockeyProspect.com’s Mark Edwards evaluated Stotts as an offensive minded and gifted playmaking center, who is an effortless skater with excellent edgework, but that consistency might be something that could prevent him from making and thriving in the NHL.
Stotts showed growth in the two seasons since being selected, but it has to be more than an oversight that he has gone unsigned. 2018 was the first draft under Kyle Dubas, and the Leafs GM has been scrupulous in getting players from this draft class under contract.
Top pick Rasmus Sandin agreed to his three-year entry-level contract just weeks after the 2018 Draft in Dallas, third-rounder Semyon Der-Argushintsev was signed during training camp that September, fourth rounder Mac Hollowell was locked up after finishing the year with the Soo Greyhounds in March 2019 and fifth rounder Filip Kral played another season with the WHL’s Spokane Chiefs before signing his ELC last month.
Bouthillier was picked in the 7th round (209th overall) and has not put up good numbers in two seasons with Chicoutimi and Saint John of the QMJHL. With youngsters Joseph Woll and Ian Scott already in the pipeline, it is unlikely that Toronto will sign the Quebec native to an NHL contract, but might offer him an AHL deal.
Sixth rounder Pontus Holmberg and seventh rounder Semyon Kizimov are also unsigned, but do not face the same deadline as Stotts and Bouthillier, since they play in Europe.
Holmberg scored 17 points (7 goals, 10 assists) in 52 games for Vaxjo HC in the SHL, while Kizimov scored 12 points (5 goals, 7 assists) in 45 games with Lada Togliatti in the Russian second-level VHL last season.
According to Cap Friendly, the Leafs have 35 pro contracts on the books for the 2020-21 season, which at this point would give them plenty of space to sign Stotts to an ELC if they have interest.
While many calendar dates this off-season are still up in the air, the 'Must Sign By' date of June 1st for certain drafted players is still in effect.
Here is the list of players that each club must sign by next Monday at 5:00pm ET, otherwise they will lose their signing rights. pic.twitter.com/x4WxJ9tUfR
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