Prospect Roundup: Return of Rodion, Finland’s finest, Abramov unleashed

Though the NHL owners and NHLPA are still working towards establishing parameters for the 2020-2021 season, some NHL hopefuls have already started making plans for the upcoming season. Mikko Lehtonen – signed as an undrafted free agent last May – has been playing with Jokerit of the KHL this season but his loan agreement was recently terminated and he has made his way back to Toronto to quarantine before joining some of his new teammates on the ice.

#Jokerit and Mikko Lehtonen have mutually agreed to terminate the player’s contract. Next stop for him is Toronto.
Thank you Mikko and all the best in North America!#KHL pic.twitter.com/OgrrJVMuVV
— Jokerit Helsinki (@Jokerit_EN) November 20, 2020

One of those prospective teammates, 19-year-old Nicholas Robertson, has remained in Toronto since the Leafs were eliminated by Columbus in August with the hope that more time around the Leafs players and development staff will serve him well in his fight for a job in training camp. There will be plenty of competition for spots in Toronto’s forward group, but with the uncertainty surrounding the OHL season, the Leafs will give Robertson every opportunity to win a job just as they did back in …

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Author: Nick Richard / The Leafs Nation

Prospect Roundup: Rodion rises, the call of Karjala, Ovchinnikov on fire

There is still no concrete date set for the return of NHL action, but the next big event on every hockey fan’s mind is the World Juniors which is scheduled to get underway on Christmas day. The entirety of the hockey world will be ultra focused on the annual holiday tournament as there will be no NHL games competing for viewers’ attention, and it will be a great chance for organizations and their fans to get more familiar with some of their team’s top prospects. The Canadian selection camp will get underway on November 16th, and while there are no Leafs prospects expected to factor into their plans, there are some recent Leafs draft picks representing their countries at the Karjala Cup which got underway yesterday.
Rodion Amirov – LW/RW – Salavat Yulaev Ufa (KHL)
Amirov’s role with Ufa has diminished in recent weeks, to the point where he’s been seeing minimal ice time as their 13th forward in the last few games. It doesn’t look as though that will be a problem at the Karjala Cup, where he played the second most minutes of any Russian forward in their first game yesterday. He started the …

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Author: Nick Richard / The Leafs Nation

The NHL’s all-Canadian Division could be unlikely after new Canada pilot project

The NHL’s all-Canadian Division could be unlikely after new Canada pilot project

The NHL’s 2021 start date is still yet to be seen but there have been some interesting developments throughout the last few days. It started with Vegas Golden Knights owner, Bill Foley, releasing some information on a possible ‘Canadian division’.
“Yeah, but they’re going to be playing in the Canadian division this year.” Said Foley after being asked about facing former Golden Knight, Nate Schmidt, a lot next season.
This sparked many reports and a lot of reaction on social media, but could the possible division be headed on its way out as fast as it was introduced?
On Thursday, the Government of Alberta, alongside the Government of Canada released plans on a pilot project for faster testing on international travellers. The plan states that international travellers will be tested once entering the country and will enter quarantine until the test results come back. If they come back negative, they’re free to leave quarantine as long as they agree to another test six or seven days after arrival into the country.
“The pilot project (..) will help inform decisions on new measures for international travel.” Said Health Canada in an email. The pilot project will begin on November 2nd …

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

RUMOUR: Leafs interested in MacKenzie Weegar

We are still an hour and half away from all hell breaking loose and free agency opening up, but we have a new name (well not completely new) to add to the list of potential targets for the Leafs today.

And, one name that isn’t the biggest — but will is gaining traction — is FLA’s MacKenzie Weegar. Right-shot D who is arbitration eligible. I think there is interest, and he is exactly the type of player TOR would look at. Enjoy the day!
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) October 9, 2020

Wow. MacKenzie Weegar has been an analytics favourite, as well as a Leafs twitter favourite for a while based on his strong defensive numbers, and the Leafs appear to looking hard at the 6’0 right shooting defenseman from the Panthers. Given the fact that Florida added Nutivaara last night, it seems reasonable that they were preparing to move out Weegar and backfilling him early.
Weegar’s numbers are impressive:

He compares quite favourably to Jake Muzzin, and Weegar was regularly seeing top pairing minutes as the season ended for Florida last year.

Month
GP
G
A
PTS
PIM
S
S%
ATOI

October
13
3
6
9
11
29
10.3
20:36

November
5
0
1
1
4
5
0
18:14

December
10
0
2
2
7
12
0
19:01

February
13
2
2
4
9
19
10.5
20:20

March
4
2
0
2
2
12
16.7
22:58

via hockey-reference.com

He would certainly address …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Leafs send Rubins to Denmark to water Andersen’s plants/play hockey

It’s still player loan SZN, and if there is a league out there that can take on some AHL players it seems NHL teams are scrambling to find them. Today the Leafs found a home for Kristians Rubins.

Loan: Kristians Rubins (D) | Toronto Maple Leafs -> Frederikshavn White Hawks | https://t.co/hxz3EtUc3h #Denmark
— EP Transfers (@ep_transfers) October 4, 2020

So it’s hard to take any kind of issue with this move, other than it not being a blockbuster trade of consequence, but as far as Rubins related news it seems good.
Rubins has been hustling to move up from the ECHL to the AHL, and earning his entry level deal, losing that momentum wouldn’t have been ideal.
Rubins joins other Leafs players such as Egor Korshkov, Mikko Lehtonen, and Filip Karl to land gigs overseas. Previously Jesper Lindgren had been loaned on behalf of the Leafs before his trade to the Penguins. Filip Hallinder, the return in the Kapanen deal, is also playing in Europe.
You can get a full breakdown of their performances here:
Prospect Roundup: Lehtonen on fire, Leafs earn letters

Rubins will be eligible to return to the Leafs/Marlies when …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Find out who Toronto picks in The Leafs Nation 2020 Mock Draft

It’s mock draft SZN. We’re sorry. Still we’ve decided to add to the noise of the mock draft season with our own mock draft. We did so knowing that most of you will immediately go to pick 15, see who the Leafs picked, check to see where the player you wanted the Leafs to pick was picked, and be done with this after briefly calling us idiots on the way out. Far enough. Mock drafts are pretty self indulgent, but for a lot of us their pretty fun too, and if there’s any takeaway from it, when you get a few different people picking with either similar players or differing views, you sometimes get a more accurate list than you’d get with a straight forward draft ranking, so here you go…
1. (NYR) Alexis Lafreniere W
Mark Norman:
What else is there to be said? Obvious pick is obvious.
2. (LA) Quinton Byfield C
Nick Richard:
Byfield has all the tools to be a premier center in the NHL. He’s a big kid who skates very well, has outstanding vision to go with excellent puck handling skills, and the smarts to be a force at both ends …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Toronto Raptors: Norman Powell is most likely starter if Kyle Lowry is out for Game 1

With Kyle Lowry still uncertain if he’ll be ready for Game 1 against the Celtics, the Toronto Raptors might have to look at Norman Powell. The Toronto Raptors will be looking to square off their series against the Boston Celtics, but it might be without their All-Star point guard Kyle Lowry. Lowry is listed as […]
Toronto Raptors: Norman Powell is most likely starter if Kyle Lowry is out for Game 1 – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Alexandro Fidanza / Raptors HQ

The Blue Jays have acquired Taijuan Walker from the Mariners

There are still a few days left before the trade deadline, but the Blue Jays have already found a starting pitcher upgrade.

According to Ken Rosenthal, the Jays have acquired Taijuan Walker from the Seattle Mariners.

The Blue Jays have acquired Taijuan Walker from the Mariners, source tells The Athletic.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) August 27, 2020

 

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

The case for trading Nylander is entirely based around one thing

Here at TLN we’re still very much pissed off following the outcome of the qualifying round. And while there is a strong case to be made about the Leafs having an incredibly talented roster, and a forward group that should make Toronto one of the top teams in the league, the fact that they were handled quite easily by an underwhelming Columbus lineup speaks to a need for a change of direction.
Toronto sports fans are naturally going to cite the trading of DeMar DeRozan as a necessary step in putting the Raptors over the top. It certainly worked. And it also hasn’t really held the Raptors back now that DeRozan and Leonard aren’t around. While hockey certainly works differently than basketball, it has made Leafs fans more open to not necessarily treating the top four group as untouchable.
On this site that has meant exploring the idea of trading Mitch Marner, both in the form of ditching Marner, and the argument for keeping him (and essentially the core) around for another year. The results on Marner were again pretty divided when the TLN crew examined who should be on the chopping block. For …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

One step closer to Leafs hockey as the NHL and NHLPA agree on Return to Play protocols

We’re still not there with the CBA…yet, but the league and PA have slapped together 40 page document which will define what summer hockey looks like.

NHL and NHLPA have finalized tentative agreement on RTP Phase 3/4 protocols but are continuing to work on finalizing the details of the CBA MOU.
— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) July 5, 2020
 

The entire package — RTP and CBA — will need to be ratified by NHLPA executive committee and then a full membership vote but no ratification will take place until the CBA MOU is complete. Also will require ratification by NHL Board of Governors.
— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) July 5, 2020
 
So yeah, it’s ready, but we’re still in a holding pattern until the CBA is ready as well. It seems like they could be voting in the next couple of days, but we also heard they could be voting Saturday, and we’re getting close to July 13th start date for training camps, which could potentially be delayed if this doesn’t come together soon. I’m going to be optimistic about this, as all it will take is the ratification to occur before …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation