The Toronto Maple Leafs prospects are among some of the best in the league, to no one’s surprise. They have spent years drafting and developing prospects to fit their needs and it has paid off immensely.
For the regular hockey fan that follows the Leafs, they have heard of the big name players like Rasmus Sandin and Timothy Liljegren but they may not know every prospect in the system. The Leafs have many prospects that are developing at a solid pace but people may not know them simply due to the lack of exposure. Soon to be household names, here are some of the Leafs most underrated prospects in their system:
The Unheralded Toronto Maple Leafs Prospects
Semyon Der-Arguchintsev is one of the prospects that has been on a meteoric rise since he has drafted. Playing for the Peterborough Petes of the Ontario Hockey League, Der-Arguchintsev has four goals and 24 assists for 31 points in 23 games played. When Der-Arguchintsev was drafted, many people pegged him as someone who would never pan out. Fast forward a few years and he s already putting those words to rest.
Der-Arguchintsev may not be the biggest or strongest guy but for what he lacks in size, he makes up for with skill. Der-Arguchintsev is a magician with the puck who loves to set up his teammates with highlight real passes. He has a knack for finding guys where others would not even see a play.
What some people may not know is that Der-Arguchintsev is also developing into a solid defensive forward. Having worked with the Maple Leafs skills and development coaches in training camp the past few seasons, Der-Arguchintsev has started making strides in is defensive play. Before he may not have had the best attitude when it comes to playing defence, he now makes a consistent effort to come back and help out his defencemen when possible. The Leafs love what they see from the kid they call “SDA” and no one should be surprised to see him in a Leafs jersey in a few years time.
One of the newer Leafs prospects in the system, Nick Robertson is having a breakout season with the Peterborough Petes. Playing alongside fellow prospect Der-Arguchintsev, Robertson was atop the leaderboard in goals in the OHL before going down with a hand injury. In 17 games played this season, he has scored 19 goals to go along with nine assists for 28 points.
Robertson is a pure goal scorer. He has the unique ability to be able to put the puck in the back of the net no matter how well his team is doing around him. Many people are happy to see Robertson developing chemistry with Der-Arguchintsev as many believe they could be future linemmates on the Leafs as well. Time will tell how Robertson develops but Leafs fans should be excited knowing that he is on the right path to success.
A fourth-round pick of the Leafs in this year’s draft, Nick Abruzzese could be a potential gem for the Leafs. Having started his first year of collegiate hockey at Harvard University, Abruzzese has been off to a great start so far this season. With 9 points in 6 games, he is proving to the hockey world that he is a force to be reckoned with.
The State Hill, N.Y. native is a great playmaker. He has great on-ice vision that leads to him making highlight reel plays on a regular basis. His hockey IQ is through the roof and he can score as well when needed. His defensive game is a work in progress but he is developing into a solid 200-foot player. Fans may not know him now but Abruzzese will look to leave a lasting mark on the Leafs organization now and in the future.
The Maple Leafs Prospects Can Be Future Stars
The Leafs have many great prospects at their disposal. With proper development and time, these prospects will develop into everyday players that will hopefully help the Leafs capture their ultimate goal: the Stanley Cup. The future is definitely exciting in Leafland.
PETERBOROUGH, ON – MARCH 14: Semyon Der-Arguchintsev #19 of the Peterborough Petes skates against the Ottawa 67’s during an OHL game at the Peterborough Memorial Centre on March 14, 2019 in Peterborough, Ontario, Canada. The 67’s defeated the Petes 3-2 in overtime. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)