Welcome to the September 2022 edition of the DobberProspects 32-in-32 Series. This month, we are diving into the depth of each organization, looking at their recent graduates, risers, fallers and top-20 prospects.
The result of some poor drafting by the previous regime combined with the current regime trading away some high picks has led to a shortage of young talent being injected into the Leafs’ lineup over the last couple of years. It finally appears, however, that the tide is ready to turn, and the wave of young contributors will be knocking on the door to the NHL in the next couple of seasons.
The club’s first-rounders from the 2017 and 2018 drafts – Timothy Liljegren and Rasmus Sandin – broke through as regulars for the NHL club last season and are expected to take on more prominent roles moving forward. Their first pick from the 2019 draft, Nicholas Robertson, lit up the AHL last season when he was healthy and is pushing for an NHL job out of camp. Rodion Amirov, selected 15th overall in 2020, was dealt a devastating and life altering blow when he was diagnosed with a brain tumor back in February, but he has undergone treatment and is miraculously nearing a return to the ice. Their first pick from the 2021 draft, Matthew Knies, had an enormous freshman season at Minnesota and he is expected to begin his pro career at the conclusion of his college season next spring.
The Leafs have done well with the early picks that they have had in recent years, and they’ve managed to supplement that group with other projectable prospects who were either selected later in their respective drafts or signed as free agents.
The Leafs may not grade out as having one of the league’s most high-end prospect pools, but they do feature a number of prospects in their system with the potential to be NHL contributors in some capacity. With the wealth of elite talent already present on the NHL roster, getting contributions from young players on cheap contracts will be key to the club’s success in the coming years.
Rasmus Sandin, D
Sandin made the Leafs out of camp last season and played a regular role on their blue line for most of the season. A knee injury forced him to miss the last few weeks of the season, and he didn’t get back into the playoff lineup, but his underlying numbers in a sheltered role were fantastic. His offensive production of five goal