Toronto Maple Leafs Prospect Breakthrough About to Happen

The Toronto Maple Leafs kind of surprised everyone by seeming to pause in mid move. 

The Toronto Maple Leafs signed Calle Jarnkrok to a contract that put them over the salary cap, and everyone just sort of expected a trade would occur to solidify the lineup and get Rasmus Sandin squared away.

I could be wrong, but what I think is holding up the Leafs from getting their summer roster moves completed is that they have no incentive to rush.

Why make a decision on Muzzin before you see how he looks in camp?  Maybe he does need to be sent to Robidas Island. Maybe you have to force him to waive his NTC.   Or maybe he comes back and looks like a guy you can’t go on without.  Either way, why decide now?

The Leafs have a lot of options because they have three very good players who can help them still, but who are also being pressured by internal options.  In a salary cap league, nothing is more valuable than players who can perform on their cheap entry-level contracts.  If the Leafs find in  training camp that suddenly need to find room for some prospects in the NHL, they can make moves.

I am pretty sure other teams will lineup to trade for Muzzin, Holl or Kerfoot, so they really no rush, and in fact, this is extremely good news because it means their prospect pipeline is starting to move players into the NHL.

Due to the barren Mark Hunter years, that didn’t happen.  But the delay is over, and the Leafs now have a ton of options due to years of strong drafting.

Toronto Maple Leafs Prospect Breakthrough Starting to Happen

Timothy Liljegren and Rasmus Sandin put up incredible numbers last year and everything changers if they are top-four, or top-pairing players.

Nick Robertson is ready for the NHL.  A point-per-game in the AHL is the standard, and he hit it.  Players who score at that rate in the AHL, at his age, have extremely high probabilities of NHL success.  A 20 year old with one of the best shots in the NHL is a big deal. A 20 year old who scores 16 times in 28 AHL games is a really big deal.  Every single player who scored as much as he did since 1990, at his age , in the OHL has a 40 goal NHL season under his belt.

Once he “earns” his job in training camp, you can expect Alex Kerfoot to then be  traded.

There is also Matthews Knies, NHL ready now, and while he isn’t a blue-chipper guaranteed to hit his potential, his potential is Matthew Tkachuk.

Rodion Amirov is expected to be healthy and playing late this year, and if not for his recent diagnosis, he’s probably be making the Leafs this fall, or at least making them make hard decisions.  While his status remains up in the air, everything points to him being able to resume his career, which is fantastic news.

Topi Niemela is almost ready, as is Mikko Kokkonen.  Alex Steeves. Roni Hirvonen. Mikhail Abramov….things are looking great.

But, the main thing here is that Sandin, Liljegren, Robertson, Steeves and Knies are NHL ready right now.  Knies claims to be going back to school, but let’s see how training camp goes, since if it goes well, and he is looking at a full time NHL job…..

Bottom line: The Toronto Maple Leafs have clear roster decisions to make, but it seems like they are going to wait and see how confident training camp makes them in promoting Robertson, Steeves, Liljegren and Sandin to major roles.