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Leafs lose Lilley, Nylander left off Olympic prelim roster, Knies nice

August 4, 2021, 4:29 PM ET [366 Comments]
Mike Augello
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The Toronto Maple Leafs extensive management and scouting staff got a bit thinner less than two weeks after the 2021 NHL Draft. Leafs Director of Amateur Scouting John Lilley was named Director of Player Personnel and Director of Amateur Scouting for the New York Rangers.

Lilley served as Director of Amateur Scouting since Kyle Dubas took over as GM in 2018 and had been with the Leafs since 2006, but moves on to take a dual position under new Rangers President and GM Chris Drury.

While the move represents a promotion for Lilley, it may also be a proactive move from an administration facing a make-it-or-break-it year to the first year of a new management team.

Lance Hornby of the Toronto Sun reports that the club is not expected to name an immediate replacement.

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Team Sweden will hold their preliminary camp for the 2022 Olympics next week in Stockholm with 27 players, but one of them will not be Leafs winger William Nylander. Nylander, who scored 42 points (17 goals, 25 assists) in 51 games and led Toronto with five playoff goals, but was not one of the 17 forwards selected for the camp.

Nylander’s exclusion does not mean that the 25-year-old will not make the Olympic squad, as two-way players like Jesper Fast, Calle Jarnkrok, and Carl Hagelin were included and injuries could change the construction of their roster.

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Matthew Knies was one of the surprises of last week’s World Junior Summer Showcase, with seven points (4 goals, 3 assists) in six games, improving the 18-year-old winger’s chances of making Team USA’s roster for the 2022 IIHF World Junior Championships in Alberta this December.

According to the Buzzcast and Sportsology’s Russ Cohen, the Leafs may have plucked a first round talent late in the second round.

“Knies is a power forward with skill. Big, strong, and heavy body. Can play the power game and finesse game.” an unnamed NHL scout said. “Skates well for size and has a bullet shot. Needs to be more consistent. Struggles when he gets away from the power game and tries to be all finesse.”

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