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)
#31 - Wyatt Schingoethe – C (Waterloo – USHL)
#30 - William Villeneuve – D (Saint John – QMJHL)
#29 - Joe Miller – C (Chicago – USHL)
#28 - Axel Rindell – D (Jukurit – Finland SM-Liiga)
#27 - Kristians Rubins - D (Toronto - AHL / Frederikshavn - Denmark)
#26 - Justin Brazeau - RW (Newfoundland - ECHL / Toronto - AHL)
#25 – Dmitry Ovchinnikov – F (Sibir Novosibirsk – MHL/KHL)
#24 – Artur Akhtyamov – G (Ak Bars Kazan – MHL/VHL/KHL)
#23 – Noel Hoefenmayer – D (Ottawa – OHL / Wichita ECHL)
#22 – Roni Hirvonen – C (Assat Pori – Finland SM-Liiga)
#21 – Teemu Kivihalme - D (Toronto - AHL)
#20 – Pontus Holmberg – LW (Vaxjo HC – SHL
#19 – Filip Kral - D (HC Prerov / Kometa Brno - Czech)
#18 – Ian Scott – G (Toronto - AHL)
#17 - Joseph Duszak - D (Newfoundland - ECHL / Toronto - AHL)
#16 – Mac Hollowell - D (Newfoundland – ECHL / Toronto – AHL / TuTo Turku – Finland Mestis)
#15 -Topi Niemela – D (Karpat – Finland SM-Liiga)
#14 – Semyon Der-Argushintsev (Center, Peterborough Petes – OHL / Torpedo - KHL)
#13 – Adam Brooks – C (Toronto – AHL/NHL)
#12 – Mikhail Abramov – C (Victoriaville – QMJHL)
#11 – Joseph Woll – G (Toronto – AHL)
After years of using trades to acquire their goalie of the future, the Toronto Maple Leafs are hoping that developmental projects like Ian Scott or Artur Akhtyamov will become a contributor at the NHL level in the next few years.
Scott made a big leap in 2019, winning CHL Goaltender of the Year and making Team Canada for the 2019 World Junior, but had an injury setback and missed the entire 2020 season. Akhtyamov has played in three professional levels in Russia this season and backed up Yaroslav Askarov at the 2021 World Junior, but is thought to be a long range prospect.
The Leafs best prospect between the pipes continues to be Joseph Woll, but the 22-year-old had a rough debut as a pro after three good seasons in the NCAA with Boston College.
Selected in the third round of the 2016 NHL Draft, Woll is a big, lanky goaltender (6’4”, 202 lb) who played in the US National Development Program and three seasons with the Eagles, making 30+ starts each year.
Woll won a gold medal with Team USA at the 2017 World Juniors as a backup to Tyler Parsons and put up very good numbers as the starter for the US in his second WJC appearance in 2018.
Scott’s season-ending surgery put Woll in the position of starting his pro career with the AHL Marlies, but the promotion of head coach Sheldon Keefe to replace Mike Babcock and the call up of many players to the NHL caused a bit of chaos with the Leafs affiliate.
After starting the year 3-1-2 under Keefe, Woll went 8-15-1 and finished the season with a 3.75 GAA and .880 save percentage in 32 games before the league shut down in March. The AHL season is supposed to start in February, but the ability of the Marlies and Belleville to play in Ontario is still in question. This provides a logistical nightmare for the Leafs organization, whose ECHL affiliate in Newfoundland opted out of the season.
It is expected that Woll and Scott will split the goaltending duties for this season if the Marlies get underway, but if they are unable to play even an abbreviated campaign, it could significant effects of the development of both Leafs prospects.
The Leafs take on the Calgary Flames in the second of back-to-back games at the Scotiabank Saddledome on Tuesday. Toronto took the first game 3-2 on Sunday afternoon thanks to a 30-save effort from backup Jack Campbell, but unfortunately the leg injury that occurred late in regulation will keep Campbell out of the lineup for "weeks" according to Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe.
After losing Aaron Dell on waivers last week, Michael Hutchinson will step in as the backup for Frederik Andersen and Joseph Woll has been recalled to join the club on the road as part of the taxi squad.
"That's why you try to set yourself up with as much depth as possible to deal with whatever might come our way. I do think the way the schedule sets up here now, it's pretty favorable for us and for Freddie Andersen's workload." Keefe said in Calgary on Tuesday morning.
Coming off of this trip, we're going to have a little break and we don't have any back-to-backs for a while, so I think we're set up pretty well. (Hutchinson) will be there as the backup in the meantime, and we'll get (Campbell) back to health whenever he's feeling up to it. We still have lots of confidence in both Fred and Hutch. In fact, there's only one player on our roster that was winning games in the second round of the playoffs last year, so i think he's coming in here with a different level of confidence."
Andersen will get the start on Tuesday and Mikko Lehtonen, Travis Boyd and Joey Anderson will step in for Travis Dermott, Jason Spezza and Alexander Barabanov.
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