August 32-in-32: Toronto Maple Leafs

Curtis Rines

2023-08-29

Welcome to the August 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.

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As most contenders do over a sustained period of time, the Maple Leafs have slowly dwindled down their farm system. Whether that be through trading prospects or picks, they have started to lose some of the depth in their prospect pool.

However, through some savvy free-agent signings and what looks to be like some late-round gems, the Maple Leafs still have a plethora of players who could be contributors at the NHL level; they just lack that high-end talent. The prospect on everyone’s mind remains as Matthew Knies. The American winger burst onto the scene at the tail end of the regular season and into the playoffs, bringing an element that Toronto has lacked at times: skilled depth.

If Knies, plus the likes of Joseph Woll and Nicholas Robertson, to name a couple, can make that full-time leap to the NHL this fall, it will provide the Leafs with both cheap depth and homegrown talent that possess the potential to be contributors for years to come. They may be in Stanley Cup or bust mode, but Toronto will always need talent on bargain deals in their lineup to counteract their top contracts.

Graduating Players

Matthew Knies, LW

As mentioned earlier, Knies was a key member of the Maple Leafs squad that made it past the Tampa Bay Lightning for Toronto’s first series win since 2004. The 20-year-old had one goal and four points in seven playoff contests before unfortunately being forced out of the lineup due to an injury in the second round against Florida. His short but sweet stint with the Maple Leafs seemed to do more than enough for Sheldon Keefe to see that he belongs in the NHL. Expect Knies to lineup on the left side of either Auston Matthews or John Tavares come opening night, depending on where Tyler Bertuzzi ends up sticking.

Joseph Woll, G

Since James Reimer, Toronto has struggled to produce homegrown goaltending talent. However, they have seemingly found the future of their crease in Woll. The American net minor has posted a .924 save percentage and a 9-2-0 record in 11 NHL games thus far. On top of that, after Ilya Samsonov was injured against Florida, Woll stepped into the playoffs and performed more than adequately with a .915 save percentage in the 2023 postseason. As he requires waivers this fall, the backup spot will be Woll’s to lose and the Maple Leafs already seem to have a ton of faith in his abilities.

Conor Timmins, RD

After a professional career plagued with injuries thus far, Timmins has seemingly found a home in Toronto. The Thorold, Ontario native was acquired in a trade with Arizona for Curtis Douglas and ended up appearing in 25 games for the Maple Leafs, scoring 14 points. He can be mistake-prone at times, but overall, he proved to be a reliable third-pair option for Toronto when called upon. After signing a 1.1 million AAV contract through 2024-25, the Maple Leafs value him, and he will be competing for an opening night spot on the ice this fall but if not, he will be the first blueliner out of the press box.

Risers

Pontus Holmberg, C

Mid-season, I would have guessed Holmberg to be in the graduates section heading into this fall, but after trade acquisitions, free agent signings, etc.. Holmberg does not look to be guaranteed his place in the Maple Leafs lineup despite his strong year. In 37 NHL contests last season, the 24-year-old Swede had five goals and 13 points in relatively limited minutes. For an overage sixth-round pick in 2018, his development was a welcome sight for Toronto, and he should be a heavy contender for the fourth-line center spot come training camp.

Ty Voit, C

Numbers don’t lie, and when looking at Voit’s stat line from last season, they fly off the page. The Sarnia forward had 24 goals and 105 points in 67 OHL games, ranking second in league scoring. He makes up for what he lacks in size (5-10) in skill and his ability to read the game. He still has a long path ahead of him before he gets a taste of NHL action, but the former fifth-round pick is showing the promise that Toronto hopes for in their later draft picks.

Fallers

Nicholas Robertson, LW

There is nobody who wants to see Robertson succeed more than Maple Leafs fans, and despite flashes of brilliance, including a two-goal performance against his brother’s Dallas Stars last season, it all goes back to the same recurring issue. Robertson cannot stay healthy. He played in just 17 games combined between the NHL and AHL last season as he suffered a season-ending shoulder surgery in January, which ruled him out for the rest of the season. With the departure of multiple depth forwards this off-season, Robertson taking a step forward and really solidifying himself in Toronto’s top nine would be huge for both him and the organization. If he falters, it could be time for a change of scenery, as unfortunate as that is to say.

Organizational Depth Chart

LW

Nicholas Robertson

Roni Hirvonen

Nick Abruzzese

Bobby McMann

Brandon Lisowsky

Dmitry Ovchinnikov

Veeti Miettinen

Wyatt Schingoethe

C

Fraser Minten

Nicholas Moldenhauer

Easton Cowan

Pontus Holmberg

Ty Voit

Hudson Malinoski

Semyon Der-Arguchintsev***

***Der-Arguchintsev has signed a contract in the KHL. However, the Maple Leafs still hold his NHL rights.

RW

Nikita Grebyonkin

Alex Steeves

Ryan Tverberg

Max Ellis

Braeden Kressler

Joe Miller

LD

Mikko Kokkonen

Mike Koster

Marshall Rifai

Maxime Lajoie

Jonny Tychonick

Noah Chadwick

RD

Topi Niemela

William Villeneuve

John Fusco

G

Artur Akhtyamov

Dennis Hildeby

Vyacheslav Peksa

Keith Pertruzzelli

Top 20 Fantasy Prospects

This section is intended to paint a picture of the Panthers prospects whose current trajectory projects them making the most positive fantasy impact at the time that they reach the NHL. Arrival date and NHL certainty have been taken into consideration. However, a player’s potential upside is the most important factor in determining this list.

1. Nicholas Robertson
2. Topi Niemela
3. Fraser Minten
4. Nicholas Moldenhauer
5. Nikita Grebyonkin
6. Roni Hirvonen
7. Easton Cowan
8. Pontus Holmberg
9. Ty Voit
10. Artur Akhtyamov
11. Dennis Hildeby
12. Nick Abruzzese
13. Alex Steeves
14. Ryan Tverberg
15. William Villeneuve
16. Brandon Lisowksy
17. Dmitry Ovchinnikov
18. Max Ellis
19. Veeti Miettinen
20. Mike Koster

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Thanks for reading! Make sure to follow @curtis_rines on Twitter for more Maple Leafs and scouting content!

LATEST PROFILE UPDATES

Name Fantasy Upside NHL Certainty
Topias Hynninen 6.0 5.5
Veeti Väisänen 4.0 8.0
Aron Kiviharju 8.0 8.0
Emil Hemming 7.5 6.0
Konsta Helenius 8.5 9.0
Michael Hage 8.5 7.0
Andrew Basha 8.0 7.5
Carter Yakemchuk 8.5 6.5
Alfons Freij 8.5 7.0
Michael Brandsegg-Nygård 8.0 9.0

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