Undersized forward with good skill and high-end hockey IQ. Works hard off the puck and drives play with efficient puck distribution.
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November 2023 – Abruzzese has been an interesting name in Toronto’s organization since his arrival. He has proven to be a productive player at the AHL level, with 52 points in 78 games. However, although praised for his hockey IQ and playmaking abilities, Abruzzese has been unable to stick in the NHL. He has had a taste with 11 games for the Maple Leafs, even scoring his first NHL goal, but he has never been anything more than a depth piece. After re-signing in the offseason for another two years at just 775k, Abruzzese could be a cheap option in the bottom-six, just he needs to take a big step forward if he wants to move up the depth chart anytime soon. Curtis Rines
March 2022 – With Harvard eliminated from the NCAA Tournament and their season finished, the Leafs and Abruzzese came to terms on a two-year entry level contract. He will finish out the season on the Leafs’ roster as he is ineligible to be loaned to the AHL until next season and could play himself into a regular role down the stretch. Nick Richard
January 2022 – After missing the entire 2020-21 season recovering from hip surgery while Harvard’s winter sports programs went on hiatus, Abruzzese hasn’t missed a beat upon his return to the ice for the Crimson. Named as one of the team’s captains ahead of the season, he has been leading the team on the scoresheet as well and is currently among the top scorers in the NCAA in terms of points per game.
His strong play has turned heads and Abruzzese was recently named to Team USA for the upcoming Olympics in Beijing. It will be a great showcase for the former fourth-round pick and could provide a bit of a preview for Leafs fans with Abruzzese likely to turn pro when the college season wraps up. Nick Richard
May 2021 – As feared from the shutdown and his major surgery, Abruzzese did not play any hockey in 2020-21. Missing a year of development is risky at any level so next season will be critical to evaluate the prospect’s timeline towards fantasy-relevance. Hayden Soboleski
November 2020 – The Ivy League will not be playing its 2020-21 season which would have put Abruzzese’s year in question. This won’t be as big of a hit as expected however, as the prospect has undergone hip surgery which will put him out of action for several months regardless of the league’s status. He has not been formally assigned or transferred to another team for if he returns within the timeline of the NCAA season (for the teams that are participating). Hayden Soboleski
April 2020 – As expected based on his torrid pace throughout 2019-20, Abruzzese earned quite a few accolades at season’s end. He has been named NCAA ECAC Rookie of the Year and First-team All Star, NCAA East Second All-American team, and NCAA Ivy League Rookie of the Year and First-team All-Star. The 20-year-old is outperforming all expectations from a 4th-round pick and certainly remains a fantasy riser. Still, expect a return to school for fall semester. Hayden Soboleski
January 2020 – Abruzzese’s rookie college campaign has been outstanding. He sits top-15 in the league and first among all NCAA freshman with a 1.21 points-per-game rate, out-pacing high-profile names such as Cole Caulfield. At 20 years of age he is an older freshman than his competition, but his transition has been smooth enough to consider him a player with a realistic future in the Leafs’ system. Drafted as a centerman, has spent more time than usual as a winger so his positional status long-term is still TBD. His stock is rising, but patience is key – despite his point production here he isn’t someone the organization has any need to rush into a crowded Marlies dressing room. Expect a few more years of Harvard education. Hayden Soboleski
June 2019 – The Maple Leafs have selected Abruzzese with their 4th-round pick of the 2019 Entry Draft.
Abruzzese was the top scorer in the USHL in 2018-19, putting up 80 points in 62 games as the Alternate Captain of the Steel. His 14 points (including team-leading 7 goals) in 11 playoff matches was a nice end to his career in the league, as he has committed to Harvard University for 2019-20. Having just turned 20, its unlikely that he grows much taller than his current 5’9″ listing, but he could still add to his 161 lb figure. He’s a long way off from showing up on fantasy radars, but his playmaking upside is apparent. He will see far fewer minutes in college than he did this season, so his ability to transition to a tougher league, and produce with fewer opportunities, will show us if he has what it takes. Hayden Soboleski