Update and Thoughts on the Toronto Maple Leafs Development Camp

2023 Upper Deck NHL Draft - Round One
2023 Upper Deck NHL Draft - Round One / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages
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The Toronto Maple Leafs development camp started on July 3rd. This year's development camp features 46 players (27 forwards, 15 defensemen, and four goaltenders).

Toronto Maple Leafs assistant general manager and player development coach Hayley Wickenheiser and her staff will oversee the development camp this year. Part of her job is to see if any prospects from this group are ready to jump to the NHL level.

There will be 17 Maple Leafs draft picks attending camp, including six from the 2024 NHL draft last week. Those six are forwards Sam McCue, and Miroslav Holinka, defensemen Ben Danford, Victor Johansson, Matthew Lahey, and Nathan Mayes.

From the 2023 draft class, there will be three prospects at camp. Easton Cowan, Hudson Malinosky, and Noah Chadwick. The four draft picks from the 2022 draft are Nikita Grebenkin, Fraser Minten, Brandon Lisowsky, and Nicholas Moldenhauer. Vyacheslav Peksa is the lone draft pick from 2021. Artur Akhtyamov, John Fusco, and Joe Miller represent the Leafs 2020 draft class.

The Rest of the Toronto Maple Leafs Development Camp Roster

The Toronto Maple Leafs development roster also includes three players signed to an NHL contract. They are Cade Webber, Braeden Kressler, and Jacob Quillan. There are also five camp attendees signed to AHL contracts. Those five are Sam Stevens, Chas Sharpe, Marko Sikic, Matthew Barbolini, and Jacob Bengtsson.

To round out the development camp roster, the Leafs have 21 free agents attending. Here is a list of all 21 free agents. Forwards Quinn Hutson, Jack Ricketts, Ethan Whitcomb, Veit Oswald, Kyle Bettens, Maxim Muranov, Simon Tassy, Dominik Petr, Nathan Pilling, Marshall Finnie, Clint Levens, Martins Lavins, and Nick Rheaume, Defensemen Ryan McCleary, Jack Brauti, Michael Hagens, Rhett Parsons, and Maxim Dirracolo, Goaltenders Dawson Cowan, and Cameron Rowe.

Keep Your Eyes on These Five Prospects

For Wickenheiser and her staff, it is important to keep track of every prospect at the development camp, but there are five prospects that will be more under the microscope than others.

Easton Cowan

Easton Cowan is at camp trying to earn a roster spot with the Leafs after a phenomenal year in the OHL with the London Knights. The 19-year-old registered 34 goals and 62 assists for 96 points in 54 games. He will return to the Knights if he doesn't make the Leafs roster.
(All stats from eliteprospects.com)

Fraser Minten

Like Easton Cowan, Fraser Minten is at camp trying to earn a roster spot with the Leafs. He registered 22 goals and 26 assists for 48 points in 43 games split between the Kamloops Blazers and Saskatoon Blade. Fraser earned four games with the Leafs after last year's main camp. He's looking for more this season.

Artur Akhtyamov

Artur Akhtyamov is preparing for his first season playing in North America. Depending on how well he does at development camp, he could start the season with the Toronto Marlies in the AHL. Last season, Akhtyamov split his playing time between the KHL (Ak Bars Kazan) and the VHL (Neftyanik Almetievsk).

Nikita Grebenkin

Like Artur Akhtyamov, Nikita Grebenkin is preparing for his first season playing in North America. He will likely play for the Toronto Marlies this season. He registered 19 goals and 22 assists for 41 points in 67 games with Metallurg Magnitogorsk in the KHL.

Ben Danford

All eyes will be on the Leafs newest first-round pick, Ben Danford. The 18-year-old was the 31st overall pick in the 2024 NHL draft. Everyone will be eager to see how he performs at his first NHL development camp. He registered one goal and 32 assists for 33 points in 64 games for the Oshawa Generals in the OHL.

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The young defenseman will return to the Generals this season.