5 Toronto Maple Leafs Forward Prospects That Are Almost Ready for the NHL

Chicago Blackhawks v Toronto Maple Leafs
Chicago Blackhawks v Toronto Maple Leafs / Claus Andersen/GettyImages
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Easton Cowan

After being drafted 28th overall last season, most Leafs fans and NHL fans in general let out a proverbial “WHAT?” When they heard Cowan’s name called.

Most scouting services had him slated to go in the later half of the second round or beyond but only one year later, it looks like the correct call.

After capturing the Red Tilson Trophy for the OHL’s most outstanding player of the year on top of a record-breaking 36-game point streak to end his season.

Cowan looks poised to at the very least get an extended look in a Leafs uniform next year.

There are not too many players in Cowan’s shoes that do not play in the NHL next season.

Mitch Marner, Alex DeBrincat, and Wyatt Johnston are all recent examples of players who won the award in their DY+1 and went on to play their rookie season. Most of the other drafted prospects who have won either won it in their DY and went on to make their debut that next season or were eligible for the AHL the following year and played there with at least some NHL time.

It is not impossible to imagine a scenario where he is sent back to the Knights, but precedent and his play tip the scales in his favor. He is only listed at 5-11 and 185lbs but he does not play like it, possessing an excellent set of tools in his belt to make him an effective piece in the Leafs lineup almost immediately.

He can forecheck hard with his high motor and use his high hockey-IQ to make plays, which should help his case as that is exactly what the Leafs need out of a forward in their top-nine.

Of course, he should not be rushed but if he shows he can play in training camp, let him play.