With big prospect names like Fraser Minten, Easton Cowan and Matthew Knies for the Toronto Maple Leafs all over the headlines, many might forget about some of the other top guys who are playing their way through the minor leagues.
This past weekend two different Toronto Maple Leafs prospects had strong performances, one with the Marlies and the other with the Newfoundland Growlers.
The Leafs top defensive prospect is Topi Niemelä and he is adjusting to his first full professional season in North America.
Niemelä came over to the Toronto Marlies late last year from Finland where he played a baker’s dozen for the American League affiliate.
This season marks the first full campaign the 21 year old offensive defenseman will be playing in Toronto and he is having a strong start to the year.
Toronto Maple Leafs: Two Pro Prospects Have Big Weekends
While the Marlies came out on the wrong end of a pair of games this past weekend, Niemelä displayed his ability to control the powerplay as he was able to help the team fight back with a pair of powerplay assists on Friday night to get the Marlies within a goal of the Syracuse Crunch.
After an empty net goal by the Crunch, Niemelä registered his third assist of the game to again bring the team with in a goal, but the Marlies would ultimately fall 4-3.
The former third round pick currently leads the Baby Leafs defenseman in scoring, while sitting top 20 of all AHL defenseman with 12 points in 20 games.
Former fifth round pick, Ty Voit who finished second in Ontario Hockey League scoring with 105 points in 67 games last year finally made his professional debut this past weekend.
The 5’10” winger missed the first two months of the season with an injury and suited up for two games this past weekend with the Newfoundland Growlers.
In his debut on Friday, Voit picked up an assist in an 8-3 loss and then stepped it up on Saturday as he helped the Growlers to a 4-3 victory with three helpers. In total, Voit finished the weekend with four assists
Known for his playmaking skills, the Pittsburgh native recorded 135 assists over his last two seasons with the Sarnia Sting in the OHL.
The Growlers currently sit in third place in the North Division of the ECHL with a 9-8-3 record.
While it is unlikely Maple Leafs fans will see Voit on the radar for a call-up for at least another season, Niemelä could be skating with the club anytime, as the blue-line is currently held together by scotch tape.