One of the biggest offseason questions for Toronto Maple Leafs fans is without a doubt where top prospect Timothy Liljegren will spend the 2017-18 season. Drafted 17th overall out of Rögle, Sweden in this year’s draft, Liljegren is eligible to play in the AHL. So far, all we knew was that he will attend training camp in Toronto and then see what’s best for him.
It might be telling, however, that Rögle does not appear to be planning with their 18-year-old blueliner. Although Liljegren is listed on the club's roster on their official website, he is not taking part in preseason action.
When asked about Liljegren’s involvement in preseason games, Lasse Mauritzson, media and communications manager for Rögle, said “Timothy is Toronto’s player and will not participate in any games.”
European prospects that plan to spend the season in Europe rather than the AHL generally don't attend NHL training camps. The Vancouver Canucks' 2017 fifth-overall pick, Elias Pettersson, for example, made clear he will stay in Sweden early. As he told Rick Dhaliwal of NEWS 1130 Sports: “My season in Sweden starts Sept 19th, the decision was made not to attend Canucks camp."
There are exceptions to every rule, though. Minnesota Wild prospect Joel Eriksson Ek, for example, started the 2016-17 season with the Wild but was returned to Sweden in November. So, it's technically possible for Liljegren to take a similar path or even return right after camp.
Yet, all signs are pointing toward a rookie season in North America. At the very least, Rögle is prepared to let him go.