Leafs Prospect Roundup: Amirov in the playoffs, Liljegren lights the lamp, Abramov returns to action

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With how well the Leafs have played so far this season, fans could be forgiven for not being ultra focused on the franchise’s young talent playing outside the NHL.
The Leafs’ prospect pool, however, has improved significantly through the last couple of drafts and there are players in the system who might not be outside the NHL for long. The continued development of the organization’s top prospects will be essential to the Leafs being able to sustain the model they are currently finding so much success with.
Having so much of their salary cap space allocated to the top part of their lineup, the Leafs have had to find useful depth players on the cheap. Joe Thornton and Jason Spezza have made the most notable contributions among the lesser paid players on the team, but others like Zach Bogosian, Travis Boyd, and even Jimmy Vesey have played important roles for Sheldon Keefe’s squad as well.
Those guys won’t be around forever, and while Kyle Dubas will continue looking for cheap veteran depth, integrating some of the organization’s top prospects on cheap contracts will be key to maintaining a successful team in …

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Author: Nick Richard / The Leafs Nation

Leafs Prospect Roundup: Sandin injury update, Ovchinnikov breaks through, Robertson ready?

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Last week, I wrote about Rasmus Sandin’s injury and the prospect of him missing significant time. The organization’s fears were confirmed this week when it was revealed that Sandin had suffered a fracture in his foot as the result of a blocked shot and the Leafs have announced that he will be reevaluated next month.

As a follow up on Marlies defenceman Rasmus Sandin’s injury which he suffered last Monday (Feb. 15), further evaluation has confirmed he has a fracture in his foot. He will be re-evaluated in mid-March and the club will offer a further update at that time.
— Leafs PR (@LeafsPR) February 25, 2021

As was the case when Nick Robertson’s early season injury coincided with a spot opening up due to Joe Thornton suffering an injury of his own, the timing was made more unfortunate when Jake Muzzin was hit with a stick and fractured a bone in his face on the weekend. Though Mikko Lehtonen is still ahead of him on the depth chart and Muzzin’s absence isn’t expected to be long term, it would have been a chance to get Sandin some more NHL reps after he played …

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Author: Nick Richard / The Leafs Nation

Leafs Prospect Roundup: Sandin on the shelf, Robertson and Liljegren producing, no luck for Niemela

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The Marlies finally got their season underway earlier this week, earning back to back victories over the Manitoba Moose on Monday and Tuesday before dropping the third game on Thursday to bring their record to 2-1-0. Despite the strong start, not everything has gone according to plan for head coach Greg Moore and his squad.
A few weeks ago, it appeared as though the Leafs organization was going to be in tough to find enough starts to go around for their minor league goaltenders. Since then, Aaron Dell was claimed off waivers by New Jersey and Jack Campbell suffered a leg injury that has kept him out since January 24th. In turn, Michael Hutchinson has been thrust into the role of primary backup to Frederik Andersen which has forced the Leafs to keep Joseph Woll on their taxi squad. The silver lining in all of this was that it looked like Ian Scott was going to get a good run of starts after missing all of last season recovering from hip surgery but before the Marlies could even take the ice for their first game, Scott once again suffered an injury that will keep him …

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Author: Nick Richard / The Leafs Nation

Leafs Prospect Roundup: Marlies’ season set to begin, Niemela returns to action, Miettinen earning accolades

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Rasmus Sandin finally got into a game for the first time in close to a year this week, playing just five minutes and registering an assist in a 3-1 victory over Vancouver. While he is still on the outside looking in when it comes to regular playing time with the Leafs, it appears as though there is finally a path for Sandin and several other Leafs prospects to get plenty of ice time with news that the Marlies will begin their AHL season next week.

The AHL announces the Toronto Marlies’ first game will be on Feb. 15 in Winnipeg against the Manitoba Moose. #Leafs
— Terry Koshan (@koshtorontosun) February 9, 2021

There has been plenty of discussion surrounding Sandin’s lack of playing time but another top prospect and former first round pick, Timothy Liljegren, is also coming up on an entire calendar year since his last real game. With a looming expansion draft, he could factor into the Leafs’ plans as soon as next season and getting him back into regular game action will be imperative as he looks to prove himself capable of holding down an NHL job.
Joey Anderson, acquired from the New Jersey Devils in …

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Author: Nick Richard / The Leafs Nation

Leafs Prospect Roundup: Sandin’s situation, Hallander on a heater, SDA returns from injury

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Much has been made of Rasmus Sandin’s place on the depth chart and the fact that one of the Leafs’ top prospects hasn’t played a game in 11 months. In a somewhat curious decision, Sandin wasn’t among the handful of Leafs prospects that were loaned overseas as the organization sought to find ice time for their youngest players when the NHL season was still up in the air. That was probably due to the fact that the Leafs viewed him as a more likely candidate to factor into their opening night roster plans but as it stands, he is currently behind Mikko Lehtonen in the rotation as the team’s eighth defenceman. With the Marlies’ season still in question, there remains no clear path to playing time for Toronto’s first round pick from the 2018 draft.

Statement from Ontario sport minister Lisa MacLeod’s office to The Canadian Press on the AHL’s Canadian division. As it stands, the Belleville Senators and Toronto Marlies are still not allowed to play home games in the province. pic.twitter.com/tyF22AQXDw
— Joshua Clipperton (@JClipperton_CP) February 4, 2021

Lehtonen has only received limited opportunities to this point …

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Author: Nick Richard / The Leafs Nation

Leafs Prospect Roundup: Amirov on the board, opportunity for Ovchinnikov, Akhtyamov shuts the door

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The Leafs’ season is well underway and the NHL is getting back into the swing of things, but they aren’t the only ones. A number of leagues throughout the hockey world have been forced to go on hiatus or postpone games in recent months, including the QMJHL which returned to action this week – well, partially anyway. Most teams are back in action but others are still sorting through provincial restrictions and the logistics involved with a safe return to play. One of Toronto’s fourth round selections from the 2020 draft, William Villeneuve of the Saint John Seadogs, is among those that has yet to take the ice again following the league’s pause and precisely when the New Brunswick based teams will be permitted to hold games again is still up in the air.
In the meantime, let’s catch up with some Leafs prospects who are getting into game action.
Rodion Amirov – LW/RW – Salavat Yulaev Ufa (KHL)
Amirov is still skating on Ufa’s third line and playing 12-15 minutes per game but has struggled to produce despite generating scoring chances at a high rate, including five individual scoring chances in a game …

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Author: Nick Richard / The Leafs Nation