Leafs reportedly working with an undrafted goaltender who may end up with the organization

Published August 28, 2023 at 12:08
BY RYAN SMITHERAM

Rastislav Elias was born in Hungary, but plays for Slovakia in international competition. He was passed over in the past two NHL drafts, but is hoping to be drafted as a 19-year-old in the upcoming draft. Should he be passed over again, however, it would appear the Leafs have the inside track on signing the currently undrafted goaltender, as he has been a development camp invitee the past two off-seasons.

Elias played the past two seasons in the USHL for the Green Bay Gamblers and Madison Capitols but has transferred over to Europe for the upcoming season. Elias recently sat down with Matej Deraj of Dennik Sport in Slovakia to discuss the move and how the Leafs have helped in his development.

When asked about being invited to the Leafs' development camp two years in a row, and if the Leafs gave him any indications of drafting or signing him, Elias had nothing but praise for the Leafs saying, "Every invitation is special. I enjoyed it very much the first year, I gave excellent performances there, so there was a little more pressure on me now, as more was expected of me. Fortunately, I confirmed this and raised the bar even higher. The reactions were very positive, I'm very happy about it. The signs are probably still there, but it also depends on how many draft picks they have. This year they only had three. I'm just imagining things, but because I stayed in touch with them and they pushed me on the way to HIFK, maybe they have some kind of path prepared for me."

Elias, as mentioned, spent the past two seasons in the USHL but transferred to Finland's junior league after he discussed the opportunity with the Leafs and credits them for the push to change his plan.


"I felt like I didn't get as many opportunities overseas as I wanted. On the other hand, the league gave me exactly what I was missing. Everything is much faster, it was a great experience to play two seasons in North America. In the middle of the season, an offer came from HIFK. I also communicated with the Toronto Maple Leafs and felt that they would prefer if I went to Finland. After that, I didn't have anything else to deal with,'' said Elias, who made his debut for HIFK Helsinki this past week and posted a 1-0 shutout.

Elias did not play for Slovakia internationally last season, but in his last outing at the 2022 U-18 Division 1-A tournament, he went 5-0-0 with a 1.90GAA and .914 save percentage. With a number of young goalies already in their prospect pool, Elias is likely seen as a long-term project for the Leafs and Marlies should he officially join the organization.

POLL
August 28   |   180 answers
Leafs reportedly working with an undrafted goaltender who may end up with the organization

Will Rostislav Elias end up signing a contract with the Leafs as an undrafted goalie?

Yes, maybe next year7541.7 %
No, I think they're just keeping some options open5329.4 %
Who?5228.9 %
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