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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)
The Maple Leafs under Kyle Dubas have been more proactive at giving developmental projects time and opportunity. Toronto has added undrafted free agents from Europe, US colleges, and the CHL, which has resulted in bringing in players like Ilya Mikheyev, Trevor Moore, and Mason Marchment.
Toronto had hopes that they found another possible future prospect in winger Pavel Gogolev. The 22-year-old Russian is a childhood friend of Leafs draftee Semyon Der-Argushintsev and played three seasons with him and 2019 second-rounder Nick Robertson with the Peterborough Petes.
The Moscow native scored 45 goals with the OHL’s Guelph Storm in 2020 and after playing in Sweden prior to the American Hockey League returning to action, the left-winger scored 12 points (six goals, six assists) in 13 games for the Toronto Marlies.
Even though the AHL was severely depleted because of the NHL’s carrying a taxi squad, the Leafs saw signs of potential in a rookie who scored at nearly a point-per-game pace and signed him to a three-year entry-level deal.
Last season was a setback, as Gogolev started with three goals in 14 games before struggled against tougher competition in the non-taxi squad AHL. After the COVID pause in December, the winger went goalless in 17 straight AHL games before being sent down to the ECHL Growlers in March. The winger regained his scoring touch, with 20 points (nine goals, 11 assists) in 14 games with Newfoundland, and eight points in 10 playoff games.