Leafs facing the very real risk of losing 4 prospects this summer

Mike Armenti
March 14, 2024  (11:51)

Leafs prospect Brandon Lisowsky
Photo credit: Saskatoon Blades

It's no secret that the Toronto Maple Leafs don't have the deepest prospect pool in the NHL. Yes, there are some excellent young players in the system, such as Easton Cowan and Fraser Minten, but with the Leafs' prospect cupboard looking pretty bare at the moment, it's no wonder why they didn't want to part ways with either Cowan or Minten ahead of the deadline.

With the prospect pool in Toronto as shallow as it is right now, the last thing the Leafs need is to lose the rights to their prospects this summer, but unfortunately, that appears to be a real possibility with a handful of young players, many of whom are currently playing in the NCAA.
August 15th is a very important deadline, as that's when players exiting their college programs are eligible to become UFAs, watching their NHL rights expire. The Leafs have a handful of players who will need to sign contracts before that date to avoid losing them. Those players are Veeti Miettinen, Mike Koster and newly-acquired Cade Webber.
Another young Leafs prospect playing in the WHL, Saskatoon Blades winger Brandon Lisowsky, will require a deal before June 1st to avoid becoming a UFA.
Miettinen, drafted in the 6th round back in 2020, is in his final season with St. Cloud State and has produced a career-high 17 goals this season. The Finnish forward has 32 points in 33 games this season, hovering right around the point-per-game mark. At 5'9, 160 lbs, though, I'd highly doubt Treliving offers him a contract.
Koster, another diminutive player, standing 5'9 and 172 lbs, is a right-shot defenseman, which may earn him an ELC with the Leafs based on the premium that has been placed on right-shot defensemen, as they can be tough assets to acquire. A former teammate of Leafs winger Matthew Knies at the University of Minnesota and the USHL's Tri-City Storm before that, Koster was drafted by the Leafs in the 5th round back in 2019. He had a career high 29 points in 40 games last season, and has produced 14 points in 30 games this season for the Gophers.
Webber, as we know, is a 6'7 left-shot defenseman who doesn't turn any heads offensively. Acquired by the Leafs from the Carolina Hurricanes before the deadline, Webber is a defensive defenseman who excels in his own end of the ice. Given the fact that the Leafs just traded for his rights, it's a pretty reasonable expectation that they see something in him and will work hard to get him signed.
Lisowsky, like Miettinen and Koster, also stands 5'9, though he comes in a bit thicker at 179 lbs. A teammate of Leafs prospect Fraser Minten, Lisowsky has scored over 30 goals per season in each of his last 3 years with the Saskatoon Blades, including 36 goals so far this season. He has a career-high 71 points in 63 games this season. Kyle Dubas certainly has a type, as Lisowsky was drafted by Dubas in the 7th round of the 2022 draft with the 218th overall pick.
14 MARS   |   830 ANSWERS
Leafs facing the very real risk of losing 4 prospects this summer

If you could only keep one of these prospects in the Leafs' development system, who would it be?

Veeti Miettinen738.8 %
Brandon Lisowsky9010.8 %
Cade Webber66780.4 %
Mike Koster00 %
Latest 10 stories