With the 15th Pick in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft, the Toronto Maple Leafs Have Selected Rodion Amirov From the Tolpar Ufa of the MHL
About Rodion Amirov
It’s difficult to find players that play a 200-foot game along with skill and smarts. Players that possess these attributes become key components and excellent assets for teams. From the beginning of the 2019-20 season, Amirov has flown under the radar on many rankings and draft boards. With his two-way presence, speed, IQ and patience, Amirov possesses the qualities that make him a real threat all over the ice.
Related: Our Free NHL Draft Guide
Amirov was a dominant player in the MHL and seeing more time the KHL. He’s taken his game to new heights with Salavat Yulaev Ufa.
THW Prospect Profile Excerpt
“Rodion Amirov got on many scout’s lists before he was even 18-years-old when he played in the 2019 U18 World Juniors. He dominated the tournament scoring six goals and nine points in seven games, leading Team Russia to a silver medal. That got him noticed by his hometown KHL team, Salavat Yulaev Ufa. But like most Russian prospects, Amirov didn’t see much ice time there this season, only playing 21 games and scoring two points in a limited role. Though in the time he did play, he didn’t look out of place.
Despite not producing in the KHL, Amirov has dominated in the MHL, Russia’s top development league, scoring 10 goals and 22 points in 17 games. He is one of the top-ranked Russians in this draft for a reason, as he boasts a rare combination of skill and two-way acumen that a lot of 18-year-old forwards don’t possess.
The MHL may not be the best place for Amirov, as he looked like a man amongst boys in that league. He probably would be better off playing against men with his skillset. Because of this, he will definitely play a full season there in 2020-21. He did get over to North America this season when he played in the CHL’s Canada-Russia series for Team Russia. He ended up scoring three points in five games. He also played in the Spengler Cup for Salavat Yulaev Ufa, scoring one goal in three games.
Though his biggest accomplishment was getting named to Team Russia’s roster for the Hlinka-Gretzky tournament in the summer of 2019. Since he never got chosen to represent his country for the 2020 World Juniors, it became an even bigger deal for his development. He didn’t stand out with only two points in five games, but it was a great experience to just be there amongst the best young players in the game.
Amirov’s game doesn’t have many flaws, as he’s a great skater which in turn makes him a great forechecker. Even though he’s not the biggest of forwards, he plays with an aggressive mindset and is unafraid of physicality along the boards. But the biggest asset of his game is his hockey IQ and ability to influence the game from all three zones and both special teams. The work ethic and attitude he possesses is also second-to-none. Basically he’s a complete player who is only going to get better. Expect him to attract a lot of attention from teams selecting in the top half of the first round.”
How This Affects the Maple Leafs’ Plans
The Maple Leafs couldn’t have made a better selection to bolster their forward depth. His ability to play a complete game and high-end IQ make him a potential top-six forward in the future.
The Maple Leafs are getting a player who can make a significant impact in all areas on the ice. He can control the play at five-on-five, he can help lead a power play and his effective on the penalty kill to pressure opponents and use his speed to get a shot on net.
General manager Kyle Dubas said the Maple Leafs want to get tougher to play against. Amirov has that ability to compete every night and be an impact player every time he is on the ice.
Peter is in his third year with The Hockey Writers, covering the Toronto Maple Leafs and heading the Draft and Prospects section. He has previously interned at The Hockey News and worked on Toronto Marlies broadcasts for Rogers TV. He currently is the co-host of the podcast Sticks in the 6ix and a frequent guest on Maple Leafs Lounge. Aside from hockey, he also enjoys drumming, animation and impressions/ voices.