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

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Nikita Grebyonkin

It has been a meteoric rise for a player only drafted two years ago and in the fifth round no less.

Even being drafted as an overager, most fifth round picks are seen as projects who are at minimum three to five years away.

That is why they usually slip so far, they are a work in progress needing major refinement in areas or that they have a lower ceiling.

Grebyonkin has since seemingly smashed that ceiling to pieces when he won KHL’s rookie of the year in 2023 scoring nine goals and 26 points in 52 games between Metallurg Magnitogorsk and Amur Khabarovsk.

He then went and bested his totals this past year, scoring 19 goals and 41 points in 61 games with Metallurg.

He plays a well-rounded game with slick puck-skills and playmaking abilities while also not being afraid to use his 6-2 192lbs frame and engage in battles for the puck. He has also taken steps to improve his shot, as evidenced by the 10 goal jump from 2022-23.

After signing his entry-level contract, Grebyonkin is slated to come to Toronto next year. As of right now, the potential seems to be that of a top-six or middle-six NHL forward but it is not inconceivable that with his tools, he could debut almost anywhere in the Leafs top-nine this fall.

Though, it would not be crazy to see him get at least some time with the Marlies while he transitions to the North American game. Whether he makes the team this season or not, as of right now, it looks like he would go much higher than 135th in a redraft.