The Athetlic staff recently took a look at what the Toronto Maple Leafs should do if they were running the team. It was one in a series of articles talking about each NHL organization and it included pieces contributed by a number of The Athletic’s respected writers. One of the interesting sections that stood out was a conversation about the Maple Leafs prospect pipeline and how it will shape the team in both the short and long term.
Examining who was in that pipeline, how good those players might be and where they’d slot if they made the team, there is some good news and/or reason to be optimistic for Leafs Nation as these players progress and make their way towards the NHL. They’ll just need to be a little patient.
In asking when fans can start to see some of these players arrive, the scribes collectively looked at the ages of the prospects and noted that the Leafs pool is a bit younger. The reality is, there isn’t a ton coming in the immediate future. The closest players to ready might be Nick Robertson and Rasmus Sandin but after the Leafs’ offseason moves, there’s no rush to push these guys through.
The remainder of the prospect pool likely isn’t ready and players like Rodion Amirov, Mikhail Abramov, Semyon Der-Arguchintsev and Nick Abruzzese aren’t on the brink and shouldn’t be rushed.
When the article looked at these prospects impact upon arrival, the writers admit that the system doesn’t really boast a top-10 prospect, but includes a handful of players who’d rank in the top 100. Not all of those players will make it, but for the players who do, they’ll be players who can play up in the lineup.
Much of that could be because the Leafs haven’t selected in the lottery and that’s the result of being a competitive team.
What’s the Overall Consensus?
The article writes, “The Leafs don’t have an excellent prospect pool by any means but they’ve done a good job keeping the cupboards full in the last couple of years.” The scribes add that the organization has options at all three positions.
In the 2020 draft, Toronto took a swing on skill and is hoping to hit it out of the park. They may strike out a few times, but with the signing of recent veterans this offseason, the Leafs have wiggle room to not land on every selection.
The Leafs first four picks of the draft (Amirov, Hirvonen, Niemela, Artur Akhtyamov) all look like they might be the real deal and aquiring all the extra picks appears, at first glance to have been the right decision. The hope is that the draft class in 2020 helps extend their long-term window to win and that by looking down the road instead of trying to stack up for the immediate future, the Leafs have positioned themselves well.
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