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 - Jeremy McKenna – RW (Wichita – ECHL, Toronto – AHL)
#39 – Ryan Tverberg – C (Connecticut – NCAA)
#38 – Ryan O’Connell – D (Ohio State – NCAA)
#37 - Semyon Kizimov – RW (Lada Togliatti – VHL / Torpedo – KHL)
#36 - Wyatt Schingoethe – C (Waterloo – USHL)
#35 - Kalle Loponen – D (Karpat – Finland SM-Liiga)
#34 - Vladislav Kara – LW (Cherepovets Severstal/Moscow Spartak – KHL)
#33 - Kirill Semyonov – C (Avangard Omsk – KHL)
#32 - William Villeneuve – D (Saint John – QMJHL)
#31 - Ty Voit – LW (Sarnia – OHL)
#30 – Joe Miller – C(Chicago – USHL
#29 - Brennan Menell – D (Minsk Dynamo – KHL)
#28 - John Fusco – D (Harvard – NCAA)
#27 - Axel Rindell – D (Jukurit – Finland SM-Liiga)
#26 - Noel Hoefenmayer – D (Toronto - AHL)
#25 - Alex Steeves – C (Notre Dame – NCAA)
#24 - Teemu Kivihalme - D (Toronto - AHL)
#23 - Kristians Rubins - D (Toronto - AHL / Frederikshavn - Denmark)
#22 - Ian Scott – G (Toronto - AHL)
#21 – Veeti Miettinen – RW (St. Cloud St. – NCAA)
The Maple Leafs chose to go heavy on European prospects in the 2020 NHL Draft, likely because they would have more time to develop in their home countries or in the NCAA while Toronto retained their rights. The club selected four players from Finland, and with the first pick in the 6th round selected forward Veeti Miettinen.
Miettinen was a scoring star at the junior level and played internationally for Finland. The 20-year-old had 69 goals in 100 games the last two seasons for Kiekko-Espoo and set the all-time record of 42 goals last season. The belief is that he purposely played at a lower level instead in the SM-Liiga to retain his eligibility to play college hockey in the US.
Ranked #29 in the Hockey News Top 100 NCAA players entering last season, Miettinen excelled as a freshman, leading St. Cloud State in scoring with 24 points (11 goals, 13 assists) in 31 games and named NCHC rookie of the year and a finalist for the Hobey Baker Award. He is known for his excellent shot and good footwork, but needs to work on his speed to be able to create space in the offensive zone
The HockeyProspect.com Black Book loves Miettinen’s skill set and believes that he has the potential to be a top-six NHL winger, but also believes that he is much smaller than the 5’9” indicated by most hockey sites, which could be an issue if he cannot improve his speed.
*******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.*******