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)
The Leafs had a trio of selections in the seventh round in 2020 and unlike most years, where they opt to select European players because they can retain their rights for longer than two years, they chose to development projects going to the US college route.
With their first pick (189th overall), Toronto selected defenseman John Fusco. The 19-year-old played three years of high school prep school hockey at Dexter(Mass) and was bound for Harvard, but after the Ivy League announced the shutdown of winter sports earlier this month, the blueliner found a home for this season, playing for Sioux City in the USHL.
Fusco has great bloodlines, as his father Mark played two seasons in the NHL with Hartford and in the 1984 Winter Olympics (Sarajevo) with Team USA and uncle Scott played in the 1984 and 1988 Winter Olympics (Calgary).
Leafs Director of Amateur Scouting John Lilley indicated after the selection that the club liked Fusco’s competitive edge and his leadership abilities and the club will have four years to see how the 5’ 11”, 181 lb. defenseman will develop.
#31 - Wyatt Schingoethe – C (Waterloo – USHL)
Toronto’s second pick at 195th overall was center Wyatt Schingoethe. The Algonquin, IL native played two seasons for the USHL’s Waterloo Black Hawks and will another year for them before heading to the University of Denver.
“(Schingoethe) is a good two way player and (scored) just under a point a game this year (17 goals, 21 assists in 47 games),” Lilley said of the 5’10”, 202 lb. center. “We saw value in him late, he's got a long development path.”
The 18-year-old is described as being conscientious in his own zone, helping support the defense, and is an effective forechecker. HockeyProspect.com’s Black Book says that “his hockey sense is a positive at both ends of the rink” and that “he’s an all-situation player” whose “shooting and shot release game are one of his better attributes.”
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