The Toronto Maple Leafs will begin their 2023-24 regular season in one week on October 11th against the Montreal Canadiens. However, they still have two preseason games against the Detroit Red Wings.
The Toronto Maple Leafs will play the Red Wings on October 5th and 7th. This preseason is a good one for the Leafs. Not only are the NHL regulars getting up to speed and new teammates starting to gel, but the prospects have been on full display.
Through six preseason games, a lot of the talk around the team is about how well the Leafs prospects are performing. Some will see NHL action this season, while others are a year or two away. However, this is a learning experience, and they are making the most of it. The Leafs definitely have a healthy prospect pipeline.
Watching the prospects performing so well is not only fun for the fans, but it’s also great for the coaching staff and management. Knowing that some of these prospects are NHL-ready or close to being NHL-ready is important knowledge for management. It makes future decisions a little easier in terms of trades or free agency.
Toronto Maple Leafs Prospects Pipeline Standouts
Timothy Liljegren – RHD
24-year-old defenseman Timothy Liljegren is entering his third NHL season as a regular NHLer. He registered 18 points in 67 games last season. Liljegren will try to take that next step this season. So far, he looks improved in preseason. I expect Liljegren to get a lot of playing time this season. (Stats from hockey-reference.com)
Nick Robertson – LW
Nick Robertson (22) is having an excellent preseason – despite only having one goal in four games, he has posted a 55% Expected Goals Rating. His number one issue is health. Can he stay healthy enough to play regularly in the NHL? We don’t know. I wouldn’t be surprised if he claims a roster spot due to having a good camp and preseason, but I wouldn’t be shocked if he started the season in the AHL, since he can be sent down without needing to clear waivers.
Matthew Knies – LW
20-year-old Matthew Knies registered 42 points in 40 games for the University of Minnesota last season. He also played three regular season games for the Leafs and recorded one point. Knies then recorded four points in seven NHL playoff games. He’s looked good in preseason and will likely start the season in the NHL.
Easton Cowan – C/RW
Easton Cowan (18) is proving to everyone that the Toronto Maple Leafs were right to choose him in the first round of the 2023 NHL draft. He played well during the Traverse City prospects tournament and has carried that over into a productive preseason. Cowan will return to the London Knights in the OHL this season, but it won’t be long before he’s in the NHL.
Fraser Minten – C
19-year-old Fraser Minten looks impressive this preseason. He’s played well enough to join the Leafs on their team retreat to Gravenhurst, Ontario. It’s unknown if he’ll play in one of the final two preseason games against the Red Wings, but he’s earned the opportunity. Minten will return to the Kamloops Blazers in the WHL this season.
Mikko Kokkonen – LHD
Mikko Kokkonen (22) played with the Toronto Marlies and Newfoundland Growlers last season. It was his first time playing an entire season in North America.
He’s looked good this preseason, and he’ll look to take that next step with the Marlies this season.