In recent years, the NHL Draft has been a friendly partner to the Toronto Maple Leafs organization. The team has started to draft extremely well, while continuing to build their stock within the organization’s system.
With players all across different leagues, playing for different teams, it’s hard to keep track of every Maple Leafs’ prospect and how they’re doing on a regular basis. That said, we’ll be looking to update you weekly on some of the team’s top players as their season’s progress.
To start, let’s head to Peterborough and the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) where two Maple Leafs’ prospects are putting up some impressive numbers to start the year.
Nick Robertson (Peterborough Petes, OHL)
Drafted in the second round, 53rd overall in 2019, Robertson has made noise in the OHL this season with the Petes. Coming off a 55-point season in 54 games for the Petes in 2018-19, Robertson is well on his way to surpassing last year’s totals.
In 17 games so far this season, the 18-year-old has been a highlight reel for the OHL – having scored 19 goals and 28 points in just 17 games so far. He leads the Petes in points and sits tied for first in the OHL in goals with Hamilton Bulldogs’ forward Arthur Kaliyev.
While he’s not the biggest player on the ice, Robertson has shown grit in his early season success in 2019-20. It’s part of the reason that the Petes are sitting second in the OHL’s Eastern Conference just now and the league’s highest scoring team.
What’s better is that the Maple Leafs have Robertson signed to a three-year entry-level contract at $850,000 per year and it shouldn’t be long before he’s contributing dressed in blue and white rather than the maroon of the Peterborough Petes.
Semyon Der-Arguchintsev (Peterborough Petes, OHL)
Alongside Robertson is Der-Arguchintsev who is second on the Petes in scoring with 27 points in just 17 games to start the OHL season. The 19-year-old is also among the league’s best playmakers sitting in fourth with 23 assists this season.
Drafted one year prior to Robertson, Der-Arguchintsev was taken in the third-round, 76th overall in 2018 by the Maple Leafs and has continued his run in the OHL since then. He had a brief stint with the ECHL’s Newfoundland Growlers to close out the 2018-19 season helping them to a championship, but returned to the Petes for the 2019-20 season and is on pace for a career year.
In a Sportsnet article by Luke Fox in 2018, Der-Arguchintsev explained how he wanted to model his game after current Maple Leafs’ star Mitch Marner.
“I like the game of Mitch Marner. He’s such a good player. He’s not very big, but he plays big,” said the Russian prospect. “He’s strong on the puck. He wins puck battles. He plays hard. I really like that.”
And with a little more development he could be just as talented as the Maple Leafs forward. That said, it will take a lot of hard work for Der-Arguchintsev and he might be playing with the perfect linemate in Peterborough to get his confidence to where it needs to be so the Maple Leafs can get the most out of their 2018 third-round pick in the near future.
Filip Král (Spokane Chiefs, WHL)
To close out this week’s look at the Maple Leafs’ prospects, we jump over to the WHL and the Spokane Chiefs who are eighth in the league’s Western Conference through the first 17 games of the season.
There, Král is in his third season with the Chiefs. He is the top scoring defenceman on the team and second overall in Chiefs’ scoring with eight goals and 20 points in 17 games. He has seven power play points, as one of the quarterbacks on their special teams and has chipped in two game-winning goals.
The defenceman had a career-high 36 points in 47 games last season with the Chiefs and is already on pace to smash his totals from a year ago. He’s also second in the WHL in points by a defenceman behind Lethbridge’s Hurricanes Alex Cotton who has 22 points, but in 21 games played.
While his road to the NHL might not be as quick as some of the other Maple Leafs’ prospects, Král – a fifth-round pick, 149th overall in 2018 – could be catching some eyes within the organization with his play this season.
Any way you look at it, the Maple Leafs do have a bright future stemming from the prospects in their system and the young talent already on their roster. While you might not be able to always stay up-to-date on the team’s players around other leagues, you can be sure to check in next time for more updates on Maple Leafs’ prospects from all over the hockey world.
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.