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Three new Leafs prospect projections show tremendous growth and should excite fans

Published September 19, 2023 at 12:22
BY MIKE ARMENTI

The Toronto Maple Leafs prospects and invitees acquitted themselves quite well in Traverse City during last weekend's prospects tournament, considering that the organization's prospect pool ranked much lower than the other 3 teams who were competing (Columbus, Detroit, Dallas).

Projected Leafs forward Matthew Knies was expected to dominate at the tournament after being announced as a late surprise addition, but while he played sound two-way hockey, he wasn't as dominant on the scoresheet as some had expected. Nevertheless, make no mistake, Knies played very well and showed exactly why he is a strong candidate to make the Leafs out of training camp, notching 3 assists in his 2 appearances at the tourney.

Fraser Minten was another player that Leafs Nation was watching very closely at the tournament, hoping to see whether or not Minten had taken yet another big step in his development over the summer. He did not disappoint, tallying 5 points in 3 games and playing excellent positional hockey in all 3 zones.

There were a lot of questions, coming into this tournament, about 2023 1st round pick Easton Cowan, whom Leafs Nation was surprised to see selected at 28th overall on night one of the draft. However, not only did Cowan answer some of those questions in Traverse City, he smashed all expectations and actually led the team in scoring with 6 points in 3 games.


One Sportsnet reporter, Jason Bukala, had put together a bit of a Leafs prospect roundup, highlighting some key points from the Traverse City tournament. He then provided some projections as to where he sees guys landing within the organization when all is said and done. Unsurprisingly, Bukala has Knies earmarked for a top-six role in Toronto. However, he has also projected that Minten and Cowan as future top-six forwards in Toronto as well.

Originally, Minten was viewed more as a 3C type, who will provide some secondary scoring and be an impact player for the Leafs in the middle-six, playing in all situations. Cowan was seen as more of a 3rd or 4th line energy guy, largely due to his size. However, with what they were able to show between last season and this most recent tournament is that they have taken tremendous strides in their development. This upcoming season will tell us a lot more about both players.

Bukala has suggested that all 3 of Knies, Minten and Cowan will attend Leafs training camp, with Cowan and Minten even expected to linger around long enough to see some pre-season NHL action before being sent back to their junior teams in Kamloops and London, respectively. Obviously, we know that Knies is expected to challenge for a spot in the top-six in Toronto already.

POLL
September 19   |   269 answers
Three new Leafs prospect projections show tremendous growth and should excite fans

Will Matthew Knies, Fraser Minten and Easton Cowan all be full-time Leafs within the next 2 years?

Yes14152.4 %
No5319.7 %
Cowan might not be a full-timer until year 37527.9 %
LIST OF POLL
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