Fraser Minten has been a terrific story to start the beginning of the Toronto Maple Leafs season. The 19-year-old drafted 38th overall in the 2022 NHL entry draft, was not expected to make the team out of training camp.
But to everyone’s surprise, he dominated the preseason and forced Sheldon Keefe and Brad Treliving’s hand earning a spot on the Toronto Maple Leafs opening night roster.
Since then, he has averaged 11:26 TOI and has 0 points in four games. That might not sound like a lot, but it’s more than four other Leafs regulars, and only about a minute less than John Tavares has averaged at 5v5, and you can’t expect a rookie to get special teams minutes.
Minten barely saw the ice against the Florida Panthers, playing just 8:47 – the lowest TOI on the team besides Ryan Reaves. Keefe shortened the bench and Kampf was promoted to the third-line to start the third period.
Though to be fair, the team needed a goal desperately in the third, so they shortened their bench. It isn’t exactly a reflection on Minten’s play, especially when he’s not really in the NHL for his offence.
Still, while he’s outplayed several players on the team, it’s always been a longshot that he stays beyond nine games and he hasn’t exactly blown the doors off. (Note: this post was written ahead of last night’s game).
Toronto Maple Leafs Options
The Maple Leafs recently recalled Pontus Holmberg from the AHL Toronto Marlies. Holmberg played almost half of last season – 37 games – with the Toronto Maple Leafs.
The 24-year-old doesn’t exhibit any high-level talent, but he does have “hockey smarts” and puts in a lot of effort. He is an ideal supporting piece in the bottom six. He is always in the right place and is great at making a first pass to help exit the zone seamlessly.
In the offensive zone, Holmberg has a surprisingly good shot. He led the Marlies with 6 goals in 7 playoff games last season.
With the recent recall, Holmberg should get a look at 3C. Though a third line of Domi – Holmberg – Jarnkrok does not look the most appealing on paper.
A line of Robertson – Holmberg – Jarnkrok would provide the Leaf’s third line with some much-needed offense. Robertson has five points (2 goals, 3 assists) in just 2 games with the Marlies this season.
He has looked more than capable of being an NHL middle six winger for the past two years but injuries have plagued his development and opportunity to find a spot on the Leafs roster.
With the recent recall of Pontus Holmberg, the poor play of Max Domi and Robertson on the brink of being called up, it may be that Fraser Minten’s time with the team this year is coming to an end.