Here's this week's look at some of the Toronto Maple Leafs prospects and how they're doing at the major junior level. Toronto Maple Leafs prospect Matthew Knies will probably remember his opening game at the 2022 World Juniors for being in the middle of the most bizarre review and re-review of a goal. All NHL logos and marks and NHL team logos and marks depicted herein are the property of the NHL and the respective teams and may not be reproduced without the prior written consent of NHL Enterprises, L.P. NHL 2022. NHL.com is the official web site of the National Hockey League. Updated hourly, with analysis, commentary and features from hundreds writers worldwide, our articles are read over 5 million times every month. TopiNiemel had an impressive year withKrpt in the Finnish Liiga; he ranked eighth among defensemen in points (10 goals and 22 assists). A prospect could go from a projected third-round pick to a second-round selection. If theres any prospect Maple Leafs fans are going to be watching closely this year, its Niemela. For starters, the 2021-22 campaign saw the Phoenix, Arizona native suit up for Team USA at the 2022 World Junior Hockey . There are six Leafs prospects at the world juniors in Edmonton three on the Russian team (forwards Rodion Amirov and Mikhail Abramov, and goalie Artur Akhtyamov) and three on Finland (defencemen Mikko Kokkonen and Topi Niemela and forward Roni Hirvonen). Topi Niemela got drafted by the Toronto Maple Leafs in the third round of the 2020 NHL draft. In both games hes logged over 21:30, logging 22:11 against Austria even though he took two minor penalties. The move was to acquire Nick Foligno and Stefan Noesen for a run in the playoffs. The 5-10, 177-pounder scored 55 goals in 46 games in his final year with Peterborough of the Ontario Hockey League in 2019-20 and will be looked upon to provide offense in the NHL this season. 72. Newspapers Limited, 8 Spadina Avenue, 10th Floor, Toronto, ON M5V 0S8. The Zamboni word mark and configuration of the Zamboni ice resurfacing machine are registered trademarks of Frank J. Zamboni & Co., Inc. Frank J. Zamboni & Co., Inc. 2022. If no results appear, use Enter to do a full site search. Russia's forward group is also quite strong up the middle. To order copies of Here are the top 10 NHL players to come out of the tournament that was won by Team USA 10 years ago. And. He is as defensively sound as a teenager can be. In the last Toronto Maple Leafs Draft Watch, we took a look at Juuso Valimaki. Star Newspapers Limited and/or its licensors. The tournament starts on December 26th, 2021, and ends with the Gold Medal game on January 5th, 2022. The club . However, plenty of smaller players are now proving more than competent in the NHL. On April 11, 2021, the Maple Leafs moved their 2021 first-round pick, their 2022 fourth-round pick which they eventually got back and their 2021 fourth-round pick to the Columbus Blue Jackets and San Jose Sharks, respectively. This is the player with the most assists in the whole of the CHL, not just the OHL. Hes got really good offensive instincts., Drafted: 2020 (fourth round, 106th overall). It will be easier to go there because you have a good friend with you, said Niemel, standing with Hirvonen in the media centre at Rogers Place. "They finished the season in first place with a record of 32-15-13 for 77 points . And he has improved his game a lot since last year, and especially skating. All Toronto Maple Leafs: High Expectations For Prospects at World Juniors EDMONTON, AB - DECEMBER 26: Joel Mtt #32, Topi Niemel #7 and Roni Hirvonen #22 of Finland celebrate a goal. He beats you offensively and on defence., Anyone can read Conversations, but to contribute, you should be a registered Torstar account holder. Matthew Knies is seemingly the most likely to make the Leafs in the short-term, but that doesnt mean thatNiemel and Hirvonen cant aspire to making the NHL. While a majority of. Its more likely a year away for the 20-year-olds, who are under contract for one more season in the Finnish top league Hirvonen with HIFK Helsinki, Niemel with Karpat. And hes playing well. Build your customFanSided Daily email newsletter with news and analysis onToronto Maple Leafs and all your favorite sports teams, TV shows, and more. Last year, the Toronto Maple Leafs saw prospects Matthew Knies suit up for Team USA and Roni Hirvonen and Topi Niemela play for Finland. Through two games, Hirvonen hasnt scored a goal and only has one assist to show for his effort. Expect him to slot right back into his role on Finlands top line and improve on last years tournament. Whats more is that the team only had the one selection in the first four rounds in 2021, which certainly doesnt help the case of having a top-end player from any country when it comes to this best-on-best set-up. Through three games in the KHL, he has a .904 save percentage, in eight games in the second division, he has a .935 save percentage, and three games at the junior level, he has a .926 save percentage. He plays for HIFK in Liiga this season after spending the previous two seasons playing for Assat. He covers the Toronto Maple Leafs, World Juniors, and the NHL Entry Draft, and is also part of the Sticks in the 6ix Podcast, presented by THW. The tournament kicked off on August 10 and the Maple Leafs have three prospects playing in the tournament. He certainly is undersized but with any luck that isnt going to hold the 19 year-old back from one day cracking the Toronto Maple Leafs roster. He has been writing about sports since 2015 and has been with The Hockey Writers since October of 2020. Hes the former play-by-play voice of the London Jr. Knights for Rogers TV and currently hosts the Sticks in the 6ix podcast. Related: 2023 Guide to the World Junior Championship. Founded in 2009, The Hockey Writers is a premier destination for news and information on everything hockey. Hirvonen, what a great player, unbelievable. Regardless of which team he is playing for, just playing in the tournament will be an incredible experience for him. The Toronto Star and thestar.com, each property of Toronto Star All Rights Reserved. He was undrafted but signed with the Toronto Maple Leafs as an 18 year old after the 2021 NHL draft. Hirvonen is five-foot-nine, an inch shorter than Granlund, but a terrific playmaker with a high hockey IQ. The organizations 2020 NHL Draft may have been their last major haul. As I wrote about the other day, the Toronto Maple Leafs have three prospects at this years World Juniors and all should play a key role for their countries if they are to make it far. Build your customFanSided Daily email newsletter with news and analysis onToronto Maple Leafs and all your favorite sports teams, TV shows, and more. Toronto will have prospects representing Team Canada, Team USA, and Team Finland at this year's World Junior Championship. 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Somehow though, the Pittsburgh-born youngster hasnt been given the chance to help the United States in their quest for World Juniors gold. Hip surgery forced. His skills have been on full display for the University of Minnesota so far in 2021-22, and his impressive start should be enough to earn him some proper looks in Team USAs top six. The 19-year-old's ascension from second-round draft pick to point-a-game player in the NCAA was impressive enough to land him a spot representing the United States at the 2022 Beijing Olympics, where he had a goal and an assist in four games. Newspapers Limited, 8 Spadina Avenue, 10th Floor, Toronto, ON M5V 0S8. Take a look at the Toronto Maple Leafs prospects that are representing their respective nations at the 2015 World Junior Hockey Championship in Montreal and Toronto. Leading the OHL in goals per game might be enough to at least get him a look. For interview requests or any other inquiries, you can follow Alexs social media pages listed at the bottom of his articles like this one. This is a great opportunity to compare him against his peers, the top players in his own age group. The 6-foot-3, 205-pound winger had an impressive freshman season for the University of Minnesota, tallying 15 goals and 33 points in 33 games. He has offensive instincts that should land him on the power play. All three should be interesting to watch at this years World Juniors, not least because its individually each their last shot at the gold. Good skater. The Americans finished undefeated in their group after they hung on . Watching Knies game, he has a play style similar to that of former Maple Leafs winger Zach Hyman. But they did venture over earlier in the summer, a week before other prospects had their development camp. Kokkonen has been regular on Finlands national junior teams since he was 15, playing above his age bracket and appearing in the world juniors last year at 18. With the calendar turning over to 2023 and the World Juniors signaling the unofficial halfway point in the hockey calendar, it's an excellent time to reassess the Leafs' prospect pipeline. 57 pick in 2021 NHL Draft, 2021-22 season: University of Minnesota (NCAA): 33 GP, 15-18-33. But given his style of play, I think hes capable of handling it. He scored twice, tops among Finnish blueliners. 2023 Minute Media - All Rights Reserved. He needs to continue to work on his skating and mobility. It was a lot of fun and good to see everyone, the staff members there and some NHL players and get to train with those guys. The Toronto Maple Leafs (25-9-7) hit the road to battle the Detroit Red WIngs (17-15-7) Thursday evening at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit in a battle between Original Six foes. He saw time on their penalty kill and on the powerplay, suggesting that he is certainly well-rounded and able to adapt to the different roles, despite his youth and the fact hes playing against men. The fact he was picked in the second round back at the 2020 NHL Entry Draft points to the Toronto Maple Leafs seeing something in him. He went on to play 15:17 in the 3-2 win over Slovakia. Topi Niemela (TOR) scores his first goal of the tournament. expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Toronto Knies announced in April he'll be returning to the University of Minnesota, a decision the Maple Leafs fully support. "I thought within his game, he always had his strong attributes," Toronto AHL coach Greg Moore said. Making his World Juniors debut, Knies opened the scoring in the first period, scoring aone-timer goal on a setup from teammate Logan Cooley. He makes a good first pass and jump into the play.