4 top prospects that could fall to the Toronto Maple Leafs in the first round

The 2022 NHL Entry Draft is less than a week away and the offseason is about to kick into high gear.
For the Maple Leafs, the first step of the offseason process comes next Thursday, when they are set to select in the first round for the first time since drafting Rodion Amirov 15th overall in 2020.
While the 2020 draft when pretty much as expected through the first 15 picks, with minimal surprises or fallers, the 2022 draft does not appear to be the same. Outside of a consensus top three prospects (the order of which varies quite a bit), the draft is set to be one of the more unpredictable in recent memory.
As a result, multiple prospects that have landed inside the top 15 on the consolidated board quite very well end up still available come the Toronto Maple Leafs first-round pick at 25th overall.
Excerpts for each prospect are taken from Nick Richard’s final 2022 draft rankings, while statistics are pulled from Pick224 and Elite Prospects.
Frank Nazar
Consolidated #8
Frank Nazar ticks a lot of boxes as a top prospect entering the draft. He was a star for the USNTDP this year, producing as one of the top players with the program. His 35 points in 24 USHL games with the program put him fourth in the league in points per game and second among draft-eligible players, only behind teammate and expected top-three pick, Logan Cooley.
Nazar was also a maj …

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Author: Kyle Cushman / The Leafs Nation

Rumours: Campbell can be moved for an asset, Sandin speculation, and the Fiala fallout

This week seems like Jack Campbell rumours are front and center so that’s going to make up the meat of what we’re dealing with here. The Leafs goaltender seems to be awfully close to being referred to as the Leafs former goaltender as none of the talk seems to be about him returning to Toronto.
via Larry Brooks
We’re told by one informant that New Jersey may attempt to jump the process by dealing for the 30-year-old’s rights if the Maple Leafs cannot or will not extend the netminder, who started more than 26 games (47) in a season for the first time in his career.
The idea would be to move Mackenzie Blackwood, whose career has somehow careened off course during a couple of drama-filled seasons this fragile team does not need. It also does not need an older veteran coming off injuries to serve as the backup; e.g., Corey Crawford; Jonathan Bernier.

via Mike Harrington
There’s no real sense the Sabres have any interest in Kuemper but that’s not the case when it comes to Jack Campbell of Toronto.

Kuemper, meanwhile, could be a fit in Toronto going forward if Campbell goes elsewhere. Campbell may want a deal of 3-4 years and the Sabres aren’t all that interested in that kind of term. Maybe they can get it down with a bigger offer in dollars, but the Sabres can’t leave themselves vulnerable either.

Alongside Darren Dreger’s statement of “he will probably get $6M” and we are clearly in the final days of Jack Campbell. Still. Let’s break down some of what is going on here.
Let’s start with what Mike Harrington said and couple it with Dreger’s statement. There is absolutely the possibility for an overpayment coming out of a team like Buffalo and relatively speaki …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Looking back at the Toronto Maple Leafs’ 2018 draft

Over the course of this week, I’ve been looking back at each of the Toronto Maple Leafs’ four draft classes under the tenure of GM Kyle Dubas, reviewing how the selections were viewed at the time, how they have panned out to date, and noting what talent they missed out on (if any) in the immediate picks following.
Today, we finish off the series by reviewing the 2018 draft class for the Toronto Maple Leafs, the first draft overseen by Kyle Dubas as general manager. With a fairly shallow prospect pool having seen major pieces graduate to the NHL roster in the two years prior to this draft, Dubas and the rest of the Leafs staff needed to hit on at least some of the picks to begin to restock the cupboards.
1st Round, 29th Overall – Rasmus Sandin, LD, OHL
At the time
Firstly, Kyle Dubas traded down from the 25th overall slot, adding a third-round pick by moving down four positions in the draft order.
Then, upon selecting Rasmus Sandin, many were thinking “here we go again” as Dubas’ first draft pick came from non-other than Sault Ste. Marie, the very OHL team Dubas had been the general manager of prior to his time with the Maple Leafs.
It was a bold move for Dubas to put aside the optics o …

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Author: Kyle Cushman / The Leafs Nation

Looking back at the Toronto Maple Leafs’ 2019 draft

Over the course of this week, I’ll be looking back at each of the Toronto Maple Leafs’ four draft classes under the tenure of GM Kyle Dubas, reviewing how the selections were viewed at the time, how they have panned out to date, and noting what talent they missed out on (if any) in the immediate picks following.
Today, we continue on by reviewing the 2019 draft class for the Toronto Maple Leafs. This was the first time in nine years that the Leafs did not have a first-round pick, so the pressure was on Toronto’s staff to find some gems with the later picks they did still hold.
Toronto had six picks during the 2019 draft, and while none have become full-time NHLers just yet, we will be getting to the first two prospects that have actually made their NHL debut in today’s article.
2nd Round, 53rd Overall – Nick Robertson, LW, OHL
At the time
Heading into the 2019 draft, Nicholas Robertson was an interesting prospect to keep an eye on. While he was consistently ranked inside the first round by public rankings, including those released by the likes of Craig Button, Sam Cosentino, Chris Peters, Corey Pronman, Cam Robinson, and Scott Wheeler, Robertson’s lack of size meant he was a prime target to fall down draft boards.
T …

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Author: Kyle Cushman / The Leafs Nation

Looking back at the Toronto Maple Leafs’ 2020 draft, Part 2

Over the course of this week, I’ll be looking back at each of the Toronto Maple Leafs’ four draft classes under the tenure of GM Kyle Dubas, reviewing how the selections were viewed at the time, how they have panned out to date, and noting what talent they missed out on (if any) in the immediate picks following.
Today, we continue by taking a look at the rest of the 2020 NHL Entry Draft after reviewing the first six selections Toronto made in yesterday’s look back.
As mentioned in the first part of the 2020 draft look back, the Maple Leafs were active on the trade front during this draft. As such, they held three picks in both the sixth round and eventually the seventh round, which we will take a look at in today’s article.
6th Round, 168th Overall – Veeti Miettinen, RW, Finland U20
At the time
A record scorer at the Finnish U20 level, Veeti Miettinen’s path to eventually play in the NCAA meant he could not play professional games prior to coming over to North America to join St. Cloud State. This meant that despite Miettinen’s dominant performances at the U20 level in Finland leading up to his draft year, he would have to remain at that level if he was to maintain NCAA eligibility.
He aga …

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Author: Kyle Cushman / The Leafs Nation

Fortnight on the Farm, Vol. 5

With the minor league seasons roughly a week away from the halfway point in their schedules, we’ve gotten a better data set about who’s building their prospect status and who’s more an organization filler guy.

Once in a while, you acknowledge the older guy who’s doing impressive work, as I have a couple of times for Casey Lawrence, but most of the time there’s some solid reason that leading your AAA squad doesn’t translate into the promise of major league success (I’m not telling you anything you probably don’t know). Still, props where due can’t hurt.
Triple-A Buffalo
You can’t be a Jays fan and not know about the latest chapter in the Nate Pearson saga, but for the sake of completeness, Pearson had been working his way back from the effects of mono and they had been going slow with him, his second and third appearances were on five days rest, and Sunday he was going on four and was surely expected to get up to three innings and 50-60 pitches. He made it through two pitches and then left the game with shoulder “discomfort.” So my daydream that he’d step up in the second half and bolster the rotation or at least provide a safety net for Kikuchi is ba …

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Author: Tammy Rainey / Blue Jays Nation

Looking back at the Toronto Maple Leafs’ 2020 draft, Part 1

Over the course of this week, I’ll be looking back at each of the Toronto Maple Leafs’ four draft classes under the tenure of GM Kyle Dubas, reviewing how the selections were viewed at the time, how they have panned out to date, and noting what talent they missed out on (if any) in the immediate picks following.
Today, we continue by taking a look back at the 2020 NHL Entry Draft. As the Maple Leafs made a whopping 12 (!) selections in that draft, I’ll be splitting this one into two articles, beginning with the first six picks today.
Toronto was active during the 2020 draft, making three trades during Day 2 of the draft to trade up and down the board. Unlike yesterday’s look back at the 2021 draft, we do begin on Day 1 with the first round.
1st Round, 15th Overall – Rodion Amirov, RW, KHL
At the time
While the Leafs did trade their first-round pick to the Carolina Hurricanes in order to shed Patrick Marleau’s cap hit the previous summer, Toronto was able to recoup a first-round pick when they traded Kasperi Kapanen back to the Pittsburgh Penguins.
The highest pick the Leafs had held since drafting Auston Matthews first overall in 2016, there was a lot of pressure on Toronto’s staff to hit on the 15th overa …

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Author: Kyle Cushman / The Leafs Nation

Looking back at the Toronto Maple Leafs 2021 draft

Over the course of this week, I’ll be looking back at each of the Toronto Maple Leafs’ four draft classes under the tenure of GM Kyle Dubas, reviewing how the selections were viewed at the time, how they have panned out to date, and noting what talent they missed out on (if any) in the immediate picks following.
Today, we begin with the Maple Leafs’ most recent class, taking a look back at the 2021 NHL Entry Draft. Toronto entered the 2021 draft with only three picks, in the second, fifth, and sixth rounds. Numerous picks had been traded at the deadline and with a lack of draft capital, many expected the Leafs to trade down once or even twice to recoup assets.
Instead, as the picks slowly ticked off the board on Day 2 of the draft leading up to the Maple Leafs’ first selection at 57th overall, they did not trade down. Rather, with a player their scouts were very high on still available, they made the pick.
2nd Round, 57th Overall – Matt Knies, LW, USHL
At the time
When the pick was made, many were surprised first that the Leafs did not trade down, but also that Matt Knies was the selection.
On paper, Knies didn’t fit the characteristics of a typical Toronto dr …

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Author: Kyle Cushman / The Leafs Nation

Rumours: Dumping Mrazek, Mikheyev’s next contract, a new old guy, and why the Leafs next goaltender should come via trade

It’s another week of Leafs rumours, and things are starting to ramp up, at least when it comes to interesting speculation. The Leafs organization has notoriously been silent about what they are trying to do, but that isn’t going to stop us or others from talking about the team, and as such, we’ll deal with what has been put out there.
Mrazek to Chicago?
Jonas Siegel and Scott Powers of The Athletic undertook an exercise of exploring whether or not a Mrazek to Chicago deal makes sense for both teams. The approach was based on the Leafs not retaining salary, and the Blackhawks getting back a second round pick (which the Leafs don’t have until 2024) and a B-level prospect (Nick Abruzzese was mentioned). There was also talk of a roster player potentially being part of it, with Justin Holl being the example. There was also some discussion of whether it would take the Leafs first in order to get this done.
All of this seems ridiculous for a few reasons. First of all the Leafs buyout isn’t so terrible that they couldn’t just suck up that unfortunate situation and hold onto draft picks that will eventually turn into players that will alleviate the cap struggles they constantly put themselves in.
There is also the fact with some salary retention the Leafs could move Mrazek with relative ease and not take on the additional burden of two years …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Leaflets: Trading up/down at the draft, assistant coach shuffle, worse cap situations than the Leafs

It’s another week of Leaflets and we’ll see if my takes evolve/devolve this week as we get further away from actual Leafs hockey and still have plenty of time to kill before free agency, the draft, and all the adjoining shenanigans make the Leafs relevant again.
Trading up vs. Trading down at the draft
The draft combine is wrapping up and with it the reactions to questions meant to disarm/throw players off guard, and other foolishness like judging players based on their wingspan. (I can already sense someone getting angered by me not carrying about wingspan and crafting an important comment on why it matters, but the rest of us can all agree that person needs to calm down.)
Anyway, the combine usually marks the point in the calendar when it’s socially acceptable to start caring about the draft, so with that, I’m going to take on one of my favourite topics and that is trading up or trading down at the draft.
The Leafs have a lot of trading down on record under Kyle Dubas. In his early days with the Leafs he made his fondness for Bellichicking the draft quite clear, and while it’s probably still more on Hunter than Dubas for winding up with Dermott over Konecny in one of those sc …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation