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Toronto Maple Leafs Top-40 Prospects #6; Leafs vs. Sens Pre-Season

September 25, 2023, 7:22 PM ET [146 Comments]
Mike Augello
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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), but the club under former GM Kyle Dubas replenished their prospect pool to provide the Leafs with young prospects. It will now be up to new GM Brad Treliving to continue that work.

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 and/or are 25 years old or younger:

#40 Rodion Amirov

Note: In honor of Amirov after his passing earlier this month, we will keep him on the Leafs prospect list.

#39 Ryan Chyzowski - LW (Newfoundland - ECHL, Toronto - AHL)
#38 Dryden McKay - G (Newfoundland - ECHL, Toronto - AHL)
#37 Wyatt Schingoethe – C (Western Michigan – NCAA)
#36 Zach Solow - RW (Newfoundland - ECHL, Toronto - AHL)
#35 John Fusco – D (Dartmouth – NCAA)
#34 Kalle Loponen – D (Koo Koo Kouvola/HPK – Finland SM-Liiga)
#33 Noah Chadwick - D (Lethbridge - WHL)
#32 Semyon Kizimov - RW (Nizhnekamsk/Yekaterinberg - KHL)
#31 Max Ellis – RW (Toronto – AHL)
#30 Mikko Kokkonen – D (Newfoundland - ECHL, Toronto - AHL)
#29 Keith Petruzzelli - G (Newfoundland - ECHL, Toronto - AHL)
#28 Braeden Kressler – C (Flint – OHL)
#27 Hudson Malinoski – C (Brooks Bandits – AJHL)
#26 Veeti Miettinen – RW (St. Cloud St.- NCAA
#25 Dmitry Ovchinnikov – LW (Sibir Novosibirsk – KHL, Toronto - AHL)
#24 Brandon Lisowsky – (Saskatoon – WHL)
#23 Dennis Hildeby - G (Farjestad - SHL, Toronto - AHL)
#22 Ryan Tverberg – C (Connecticut – NCAA, Toronto - AHL)
#21 Vladislav Kara - LW (Podolsk Vityaz - KHL)
#20 Semyon Der-Argushintsev - C (Toronto - AHL)
#19 Nikita Grebyonkin - RW (Khabarovsk/Magnitogorsk - KHL)
#18 Easton Cowan – LW (London – OHL)

#17 Artur Akhtyamov – G (Neftyanik Almetievsk – VHL)
#16 Vyacheslav Peksa - G (Ak-Bars Kazan - MHL/VHL/KHL)
#15 Michael Koster - D (Minnesota - NCAA)
#14 Ty Voit – RW (Sarnia – OHL)
#13 Fraser Minten - C (Kamloops - WHL)
#12 William Villeneuve – D (Toronto - AHL)
#11 Alex Steeves – C (Toronto – AHL/NHL)
#10 Joe Miller – C (Harvard - NCAA)
#9 Nick Moldenhauer - RW (Chicago - USHL)
#8 Nick Abruzzese – C (Toronto – AHL/NHL)
#7 Bobby McMann – F (Toronto – AHL/NHL)

#6 Roni Hirvonen – C (HIFK Helsinki – Finland SM-Liiga)

Kyle Dubas during his tenure with the Maple Leafs was strategic in moving down at certain times in the draft to get extra picks. In 2018, he traded down four spots in the first round with St. Louis to get an extra third-round pick and selected former Leaf Rasmus Sandin 29th overall and Semyon Der-Argushintsev in the third.

In 2020, Dubas once again traded down, moving his second-round pick (44th overall) to Ottawa for a late second and to recoup a third-round pick(Topi Niemela) that he traded in the Nazem Kadri deal.

At #59, Toronto selected Finnish center Roni Hirvonen. Hirvonen played 52 games in the SM-Liiga for Assat Pori prior to the draft and is known for possessing skill and hockey IQ, but the question is whether he will be able to overcome his small stature (5’9”, 164 lbs) and round out the other aspects of his game to eventually be a successful pro player.

“(Hirvonen is) a really smart cerebral player, who can improve his outright speed, but he has good edges. Has good offensive instincts and a player who plays on the Finnish national team. We've seen a lot with them.” Former Leafs Director of Amateur Scouting John Lilley said. “He's got good offensive upside and he's a competitive kid. I know he's not a bigger kid, but he's certainly competitive and hard on pucks.”

The 21-year-old was selected for Team Finland’s squad for the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championships in Edmonton and scored six points (2 goals, 4 assists) in seven games, as well as setting a career-high of 21 points with Assat in the SM-Liiga.

“Hirvonen is a very skilled playmaker who makes his money running a power play from the right half-wall (though he played a lot on the bumper spot last season, which is wasting his talents). He’s a creative handler who can fool defenders while attacking off the rush, utilizing a rather long stick for his size.” Lassi Alanen of Elite Prospects said. (He) showed these skills more at the international level and in the junior ranks, and I’ll fully expect that he’s going to be able to use them more in Liiga in the upcoming seasons as he gains strength and experience.”

After switching to HIFK Helsinki in the Finnish league in 2021-22, he increased his point total to 26 (9 goals, 17 assists) in 46 games and averaged over a point per game in the Liiga playoffs. In his second WJC, he was named Finland’s team captain and had seven points in seven games, leading his country to the Gold Medal game vs. Canada. Following the season, Hirvonen signed a three-year entry-level contract with the Leafs, with the understanding that he would play another season for HIFK Helsinki before heading to North America.

Last season, he scored 15 goals in 57 games for HIFK. Hirvonen took part in the Leafs Development Camp in July, at the Prospect Tournament in Traverse City earlier this month and was in the lineup for the Leafs in their 3-2 loss to Ottawa on Sunday.

It is expected that the young Finn will slot in with the AHL Marlies this season, in the hopes that he transitions well to the North American game.
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