The Toronto Maple Leafs signed centre, Kirill Semyonov, after his KHL team, Avangard Omsk, won their championship back in May 2021.
Though Kirill Semyonov had success overseas, nothing is certain when it comes to KHL players coming to the NHL, as Toronto Maple Leafs fans well know.
Kirill Semyonov is a KHL veteran having played 9 seasons in the Russian league. His best season was in 2019-20 where he lead Avangard Omsk in points with 46 points in 62 games and was ranked 11th in the league in points. He also represented Avangard Omsk in the 2020 KHL All-Star Game. (eliteprospects.com).
Though Kirill Semyonov has had some success on the scoreboard, what caught the attention of the Toronto Maple Leafs was his defensive play. He’s a big guy with reach that can start in the defensive zone and move play forward which is a trait the Toronto Maple Leafs have been known to look for.
Kirill Semyonov and the Toronto Maple Leafs
The Toronto Maple Leafs have built a strong reputation with KHL players over the passed few years bringing in players like Ilya Mikheyev, Alexander Barabanov, Mikko Lehtonen and Brennan Menell.
Toronto Maple Leafs GM, Kyle Dubas, apparently assures these players that they’ll get a fair shot at a roster spot, but if things don’t work out in Toronto, he’ll make a trade to benefit the player to find ice time elsewhere.
Last season, Alexander Barabanov was traded to the San Jose Sharks and Mikko Lehtonen was traded to Columbus Blue Jackets for very little return when they couldn’t find ice time with the Toronto Maple Leafs. Both players were given opportunity in limited roles coming out of camp though, but transferring leagues is hard enough without doing during a global pandemic, so last year may not be a good barometer for this type of move.
Kirill Semyonov will be 27 years old at the end of October 2021. I don’t think he signed in Toronto to play with the Marlies. I’m sure Kyle Dubas would’ve assured Semyonov that he would at least have a great opportunity to play at the NHL level, but there are a half dozen other players also competing for the same jobs.
I can see Kirill Semyonov making the Toronto Maple Leafs roster to start the season just like Ilya Mikheyev, Alexander Barabanov, and Mikko Lehtonen did. Getting playing time is another story. The Leafs have very few spots available, and a lot of players fighting to fill them.
Competing with Kirill Semyonov for a job with the Toronto Maple Leafs will be the likes of Pierre Engvall, Adam Brooks, Ondřej Kaše, Nick Roberton, Kampf, Michael Bunting, Josh Ho-Sang, and Nick Ritchie.
My guess is Kirill Semyonov will make the Toronto Maple Leafs roster out of camp as either a fourth-liner or a scratch. If he doesn’t work out, he’ll probably be traded before he sees time on the Marlies. I wish the best for Kirill Semyonov and hope he becomes a serviceable player for the Toronto Maple Leafs.