The Leafs have placed a premium on hockey sense in the last couple of drafts, and they continued that trend with the selection of Finnish defenseman Topi Niemela at the top of the third round in the 2020 NHL draft. The young defender put himself on the map last year with Karpat, earning a regular spot with one of Liiga’s top teams at just 17 years old.
Toronto entered the draft holding the 44th overall pick but traded down from that spot, securing the 59th and 64th overall picks from the Ottawa Senators and using them to select Roni Hirvonen and Niemela, respectively. I would have considered both Niemela and Hirvonen to be good picks at 44th overall, so to end up with both of them was a really nice piece of business for Kyle Dubas on his way to restocking the Leafs’ prospect pipeline.
Hirvonen came in at 12th on our list, while Niemela is making his TLN Prospect Rankings debut inside the top ten, and both young Fins have the potential to find themselves much higher on this list as early as next season.
Weight: 163 lbs
Author: Nick Richard / The Leafs Nation