A young squad, the Toronto Maple Leafs are still trying to figure things out at the NHL level. A coaching change and they seem to be turning things around – at least for the most part a third of the way through the season.
While the Maple Leafs have had their own struggles, their prospects have been finding success around the world of hockey – in different leagues around the world.
Some have put together nice little scoring streaks, while others have seen themselves called up to the AHL to join the Toronto Marlies. But it hasn’t all been good news for Maple Leafs’ prospects – including one who had a big start to his OHL season.
Robertson Remains Out
He opened the OHL season with 19 goals and 28 points in just 17 games for the Peterborough Petes. He was leading the team in points and among the top players in the league in both goals and points.
However, after a sizzling start to the season, Robertson suffered a broken finger on Nov. 8 against the Kingston Frontenacs when he took a shot off the hand. While he wasn’t expected to miss too much time, Robertson remains out of the lineup nearly a month after suffering the injury.
Three of his teammates have picked up the slack in his absence, including another Maple Leafs’ prospect in Semyon Der-Arguchintsev who now leads the Petes in points, but the hole left in the lineup by Robertson is noticeable – especially after such a hot start to the year.
While it may take him time once he gets back, it’ll be interesting to see just how Robertson responds when he returns from the broken finger – especially for a team who has maintained a 7-1-1-1 record over their last 10 games without their star forward.
Peterborough Petes (OHL) | 17 GP | 19 G | 9 A | 28 PTS | 17 PIM | +9
Kara’s KHL Point Streak
He may be scoreless in his last four outings with the KHL’s AK Bars Kazan, but as The Athletic’s Scott Wheeler tweeted, he did have a nice little run with the team – including a six-game point streak.
Kara, who isn’t exactly known for his offensive output had 17 points in 18 games with the VHL’s Bars Kazan before joining his KHL squad. Since then he’s put up four goals and eight points in 14 games with Ak Bars Kazan with seven of his points coming between Nov. 4 and Nov. 24 – a six-game span in which he had at least one point in every contest.
While it may not be a sign of what’s to come with this particular prospect, Kara has shown some growth this season getting more time in the KHL. The Maple Leafs have yet to sign Kara, but surely they are keeping an eye on how he’s progressing over in Russia.
Bars Kazan (VHL) | 18 GP | 6 G | 11 A | 17 PTS | 10 PIM | +16
Ak Bars Kazan (KHL) | 14 GP | 4 G | 4 A | 8 PTS | 10 PIM | +6
Aaron Luchuk Gets the Call
Finally, the Maple Leafs AHL affiliate recalled forward Aaron Luchuk from the Newfoundland Growlers of the ECHL on Tuesday. The 22-year-old has already been up to the AHL this season and continues to be a force for the Growlers.
He’s played three games for the Marlies with no offence to show for it, but has 22 points in 17 games for his ECHL club. He’s among the top-15 scores in the ECHL and sits tied for second on the Growlers in scoring with Brady Ferguson (22).
The Growlers also lead the North Division with a 15-8-0 record through 23 games – a season after taking home the ECHL championship. Luchuk was also a key component to that championship winning group.
Luchuk is an undersized prospect, but has a gritty side to him that really makes his game a two-dimensional game. His call up to the AHL is a testament to what he’s been able to do and is surely being recognized by the Maple Leafs upper management.
Newfoundland Growlers (ECHL) | 17 GP | 9 G | 13 A | 22 PTS | 4 PIM | +4
Toronto Marlies (AHL) | 3 GP | 0 G | 0 A | 0 PTS | 0 PIM | -1
Check out the THW Prospects Page to see the Next Wave of NHL Stars
While the Maple Leafs might not be in need of anymore prospect call-ups at this point in time in the season, we’ll be sure to keep you up to date on the happenings for all of the team’s prospects from around the world of hockey as we check in on them from week to week.
Andrew is in his 8th year reporting for The Hockey Writers covering the Toronto Maple Leafs. He began his broadcasting with CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada team as well as being part of their coverage of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi. He’s the former play-by-play voice of the London Jr. Knights for Rogers TV and currently hosts the Sticks in the 6ix podcast. You can follow him on Twitter at @AndrewGForbes.