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Will Leafs stick with same draft strategy? AHL goalie depth added

June 6, 2022, 2:25 PM ET [365 Comments]
Mike Augello
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The Toronto Maple Leafs under GM Kyle Dubas have emphasized skill and speed over size and strength with most of their draft choices and although there is no way to be certain what direction they will go in the upcoming NHL Draft in Montreal, who they interviewed (and also who they didn’t) could be an indicator that they staying with the same strategy.

The Leafs select 25th in the first round. It is possible that they may trade down to the bottom of the first round to get an extra draft pick (as Dubas did in 2018). If they remain at #25, two players possibly on the board could be USNTDP defenseman Ryan Chesley and Swift Current blueliner Owen Pickering.

Chesley put up decent offensive numbers in the US Developmental program and is 6’0”, 201 lb., Pickering is a lanky 6’5” 179 lb and emulates more defensive-minded blueliners like Carolina’s Jaccob Slavin. Both are excellent skaters with NHL size, but both prospects did not speak to the Leafs at the NHL Scouting Combine last weekend.

If Toronto trades down, one blueliner who could be on their radar is Lane Hutson. The 18-year-old Chicago, IL native is committed to Boston University. The is 5’8” 159 lb. defenseman is described by Elite Prospects as “a fantastic skater with second-gear acceleration, possessing great vision of the ice and is reliable for a good first pass out of the zone” and nearly broke all of Quinn Hughes scoring records in the US program this season.

The Leafs seemed to deviate from their usual modus operandi last season selecting big winger Matthew Knies in the second round, but we will have to wait until next month to see if that was the exception or the rule going forward.

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The Toronto Marlies the signing of goaltender Luke Cavallin to a two-year AHL contract.

The 6’1”, 196 lb. netminder went 36-14-4, with a 3.16 GAA and a .910 save percentage in 56 games as an overager with the OHL’s Flint Firebirds last season, leading the league in wins.

This is the second goalie the Leafs signed to an AHL deal, as the club added 2022 Hobey Baker Award winner Dryden McKay to a two-year contract in April. Toronto has Joseph Woll and Erik Kallgren under NHL deals next season, but Michael Hutchinson and Carter Hutton are unrestricted free agents and they may not qualify oft-injured Ian Scott after playing eight professional games the last four seasons.


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