Concerns about offense could lead to top Maple Leafs prospect heading to the AHL

Dean Chaudhry
July 8, 2024  (8:41)

Toronto Maple Leafs prospect Fraser Minten battling for position in the offensive zone against the Montreal Canadiens.
Photo credit: David Kirouac - USA Today Sports

Fraser Minten may start the 2024-25 season in the AHL with the Toronto Marlies for the betterment of his development and to hone in on his offensive skills.

With Toronto Maple Leafs Development Camp winding down, Kyle Cushman of The Score laid out a lengthy but informative thread on Twitter yesterday, giving an inside scoop on some of the top prospects within the organization's pipeline.
Fraser Minten walks into the 2024-25 season as a top-3 prospect, perhaps even top-2, alongside London Knights' forward Easton Cowan. Minten surprisingly made the Maple Leafs' Opening Night roster last year after a strong camp, but was loaned back to his junior team in short order.
Nevertheless, he had a solid campaign that was split between the Kamloops Blazers and the Saskatoon Blades of the WHL, where he tallied 22 goals and 48 points in 43 games played. He would then add 8 goals and 14 points in 16 post-season contests, but it felt like a step-back from his 2022-23 season that saw him score 31 goals and 67 points in 57 games for the Blazers.
Generally, the jump in counting stats is noticeable from draft year to draft+1 to draft+2. Minten went from 55 points in his draft year in 2021-22 to 67 points in 10 less games in 2022-23 to 48 points in 43 games this year. Definitely nothing to worry about, but also nothing to write home about in relation to being one of the organization's top prospects.
While his offensive game was a little stunted in what was his final year in the WHL, Minten still has a chance to crack the opening night roster again in 2024-25. With another strong training camp, anything is possible, but the Maple Leafs should strongly consider giving Minten some meaningful time in the AHL with the Marlies, giving him some runway before taking off for the NHL.
As Cushman points out, Minten "remains a sturdy, two-way presence, but dynamic offensive qualities are still lacking. I think it's vital for his development to get touches and offensive opportunity in the AHL that he won't if he makes the NHL."
The 20-year-old will be eligible for the AHL this season and with the Marlies he'll be able to play plenty of top-6 minutes, have all the freedom and liberties to learn and make mistakes one step down from the highest level, help develop his offensive game, and be able to keep trucking along without the worries of being scratched or benched on the biggest stage.
Minten has developed a two-way game that will assuredly translate to the NHL, but he needs to get back to the basics and find the offensive touch that made him such a highly regarded prospect during his draft year.
Source for Fraser Minten's statistics:
Fraser Minten
Concerns about offense could lead to top Maple Leafs prospect heading to the AHL

Will Fraser Minten crack the Opening Night roster for the Maple Leafs again in 2024-25?

Yes, he would be a perfect addition to the top-936446 %
No, he needs to start in the AHL first26333.2 %
I'm good either way16520.8 %
Latest 10 stories