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Leafs Top 40 Prospects - #3

November 23, 2021, 5:28 PM ET [129 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 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, Toronto - AHL)
#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)
#20 – Artur Akhtyamov – G (Ak Bars Kazan – MHL/VHL/KHL)
#19 – Filip Kral - D (Kometa Brno – Czech, Toronto - AHL)
#18 - Joseph Duszak - D (Toronto - AHL)
#17 – Mac Hollowell - D (Toronto – AHL / TuTo Turku – Finland Mestis)
#16 – Semyon Der-Argushintsev - C (Torpedo – KHL, Toronto - AHL)
#15 – Pavel Gogolev – LW (Vasby IK – Swe-1, Toronto – AHL)
#14 - Pontus Holmberg – LW (Vaxjo HC – SHL)
#13 – Mikko Kokkonen – D (Jukurit Mikkeli – Finland SM-Liiga, Toronto - AHL)
#12 – Joseph Woll – G (Toronto – AHL)
#11 - Dmitry Ovchinnikov – F (Sibir Novosibirsk – MHL/KHL)
#10 - Mikhail Abramov – C (Victoriaville – QMJHL)
#9 – Adam Brooks – C (Toronto – AHL/NHL) (claimed by Montreal)
#8 - Roni Hirvonen – C (Assat Pori – Finland SM-Liiga)
#7 - Timothy Liljegren – D (Toronto – AHL/NHL)
#6 - Matthew Knies – LW (Tri-City – USHL)
#5 – Nick Abruzzese - C (Harvard - NCAA)
#4 - Topi Niemela – D (Karpat – Finland SM-Liiga)

#3 – Rodion Amirov – LW (Ufa Salavat – KHL)

The Toronto Maple Leafs turned clearing cap space into a future asset prior to the 2020 NHL Draft, as GM Kyle Dubas was able to get a first round pick from the Pittsburgh Penguins in the deal for winger Kasperi Kapanen and with the 15th pick overall, the Leafs selected winger Rodion Amirov.

In his draft year, Amirov played for Russia at the 2020 IIHF World Junior in the Czech Republic, the Canada/Russia Super Series, the Spengler Cup and in 21 KHL games for hometown Salavat Yulaev Ufa, and after being selected impressed internationally at the Karjala Cup and scored six points (2 goals, 4 assists) in seven games at the 2021 World Junior in Edmonton.

“We consider (his speed) to be amongst the best in the class.” Leafs GM Kyle Dubas said last October. “(Amirov) has played for the national team and played well there. When he is not producing, he is able to contribute using his speed on the penalty kill and forechecking. We really like his game on and off the puck, so we were excited to have the chance to take him when we did.

Hockey Prospect’s Mark Edwards describes Amirov as a skilled, two-way winger who plays a finesse style of game.

“Rodion is very difficult to pin down or gain a read on. This is in large part due to the combination of skating deception and craftiness he’s displayed. There’s a slipperiness to his style of play that allows him to take advantage of the game both in tight areas around the goal line and boards, as well as open space. The first factor that gives him his elusiveness and unpredictability is his skating.”

After scoring 13 points (9 goals, 4 assists) in 39 games for Ufa, the Leafs signed Amirov to a three-year entry-level contract, with the understanding that the 20-year-old would return to the KHL this season and possibly in 2022 if he does not make the NHL roster out of training camp.

Amirov’s 2021 KHL season has been an adventure, as a pre-season collarbone/shoulder injury limited him to just three games. After two months recovery, the winger returned to practice last week and is expected to return to the lineup by the end of November


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