The Toronto Maple Leafs monthly prospect update focuses on updating the development of currently playing players.
September’s prospect update, like most NHL teams, is very Euro-centric. The Toronto Maple Leafs are holing training camp and the only prospects who have played any league action in any meaningful way is their three prospects currently playing in the KHL.
Although, it should be noted that some key prospects are impressing at the NHL training camp in Easton Cowan and Fraser Minten among others. By next month’s update we will have a greater picture of the prospect pool as a whole with the NCAA season kicking off soon. We will also have a much larger sample of games for CHL prospects and will be able to check up on their progress.
As of right now, let’s take a look over in the KHL and see some Leafs prospects and how their season’s are going thus far. (Stats from eliteprospects.com).
Toronto Maple Leafs 2023-24 October Prospect Update
Artur Akhtyamov, G, KHL
Fresh off signing his entry-level contract (ELC) this summer, Akhtyamov has returned to Russia and been incredibly impressive. After playing three games with Neftyanik Almetievesk of the VHL and posting a .933% save percentage (SV%), he was recalled to the KHL’s Ak Bars Kazan.
There, he played in three games, one in relief and the other two starting. Through three games he stopped 54 of 59 total shots, holding an impressive .915 SV%.
So far in the month of October, he has played two games, stopping 53 of 57 shots for a .930 SV%. Overall on the season, he sports a .922 SV% in the KHL.
This opportunity is massive for the soon to be 22-year-old netminder and could give him vital confidence and reps required to progress through his development.
Semyon Der-Arguchintsev, C, KHL
SDA left the Toronto Maple Leafs system this summer to return to Russia. It’s unclear at this time his reasons for leaving, if I were to guess it would likely be the lack of a legitimate NHL shot at this time.
Equally unclear is if he intends to make a return to North America anytime soon. Although, this may not be top of mind at the moment for SDA as he has been torching the KHL so far this season.
Through 14 games the “pass-first” centre has scored six goals and two assists for eight points. This puts him 10th in U-24 scoring so far and the season has only begun. To add further context, he has averaged just shy of 16 minutes a night.
To put up these numbers in a low scoring league with mainly second line ice-time is impressive. If he can continue at this pace he could make a really good case to return to North America and challenge for a legitimate depth role on the Leafs or another team.
Nikita Grebyonkin, W, KHL
The former fifth rounder was a big-time riser in prospect rankings after capturing the Alexei Cherepanov award last season.
Although his production has taken a dip as of right now, Grebyonkin is showing that his rookie season in the KHL wasn’t a fluke.
So far through 14 games he has three goals and three assists with Metallurg Magnitogorsk.
This is good for a 0.43 points-per-game average (PPG) compared to last season’s 0.58 with Amur Khabarovsk. One noticeable difference is his ice-time as his role has diminished from a top-six staple with Amur to middle-six/third line with Magnitogorsk.
If he continues this pace, he will still put up respectable totals for a sophomore season in one of the top professional leagues in the world. This will be especially true with the ice-time asterisk. He should still continue to develop well playing with one of the top teams in the league and with his contract set to expire at season’s end, he could be an ELC candidate next off-season.