The Toronto Maple Leafs have a number of great prospects currently developing Europe. Players like Topi Niemelä, Pontus Holmberg and Artur Akhtyamov have been developing well with their teams in Finland, Sweden and Russia.
One Toronto Maple Leafs prospect who may have been hampered in development this season is one of the organizations top prospects, 20 year old Russian, Rodion Amirov.
Amirov was drafted be the Toronto Maple Leafs in the 1st round (15th overall) in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft and is currently playing with Salavat Yulayev Ufa in the KHL.
Rodion Amirov suffered an undisclosed injury early in the KHL season that has kept him out of the line up for a couple months, but that may not be the end of his troubles this season.
“Wrench Thrown” in a Toronto Maple Leafs Development?
SportsNet’s, Luke Fox, has reported that since Rodion Amirov has returned from injury, “he’s been healthy scratched multiple times by Ufa, throwing a wrench into his development.”
Fox goes on to say “If he can’t get on track and start seeing regular shifts in his native Russia, we do wonder if Amirov’s progression might be better served by getting him in a Marlies uniform.”
Before his injury, Amirov had payed three games this season with Salavat Yulayev Ufa contributing one assist. After returning from injury, he played a three game conditioning stint with Toros Neftekamsk in the VHL.
Amirov picked up another assist during his first game back to the KHL on December 6th, but has only appeared in one more game since then. Even when Amirov has appeared in games, he hasn’t gotten the ice time he may need to properly develop.
Will Amirov report to the Toronto Marlies?
The KHL can be a great league for NHL prospects to develop. It’s the most competitive professional men’s hockey league outside of the NHL. With a league that competitive though, it can be difficult for new players to break in and earn ice time.
Rodion Amirov signed a three year entry level contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs in April and is currently on loan to Salavat Yulayev Ufa. The Toronto Maple Leafs can re-assign Amirov to the Toronto Marlies at any time.
I would assume that Amirov was loaned to the KHL with the thought that it would be a better opportunity for him to develop, but if that is no longer the case, I can see him moving to Canada at any time.
Amirov did travel with the Toronto Maple Leafs on their taxi squad after he finished his KHL season in April. It doesn’t seem like the Leafs intended for him to play in an NHL game, but it was an opportunity for him to work with their development staff.
At 20 years old, it may be time for Rodion Amirov to make the jump to North America. If not now, perhaps at the end of the KHL season or at least before the start of the Toronto Maple Leafs development camp this summer.