The PPP Top 25 Under 25 is back, and like most of the NHL world, is back to something close to its regular schedule after the challenges of the last two years. The 2022-2023 NHL season starts in mid October, with training camps beginning in the the second half of September, so we have lots of time to examine in minute detail the Maple Leafs prospects.

We just have one little problem, and that’s Rasmus Sandin. He’s an RFA, so he meets the criteria, and he makes the list, and it’s not the first time a player has been unsigned while we voted and discussed our players. The last time a really quality player was in this situation is likely Connor Brown. He signed his first post-ELC deal on August 26, 2017, long after we’d voted and started the T25 where he was ranked sixth. There were a couple of trades in late summer in various years that affected lower-level players on the list.

Sandin is going to be challenging for a top five position in this year’s vote, and could be in the top three, so the uncertainty around his status is a wrinkle for voting we’d like to avoid. The absolute need for the Leafs to make some other move or moves that could conceivably return an eligible player to be added is also causing me a little concern. This is a very interesting year in the life cycle of the Leafs. We’ve never had a T25 with so few NHL-level players, along with some really interesting, but very young prospects. I’m looking forward to seeing how everyone sorts out this group.

There’s no firm date set yet for voting to begin, but it will be this week or next.

Rodion Amirov is on the list of eligible players posted below. There have been some photos posted of him this summer showing him looking happy and doing well as he gets treatment for a brain tumor. But obviously, we aren’t including him in voting this year, we’re all just wishing him well.

The eligibility rules are simple: anyone who is under contract to the Maple Leafs or on their Reserve List who is younger than 25 as of July 1 of this year is eligible. The Reserve List includes all drafted players and anyone else the Maple Leafs have exclusive signing rights to. Not included are the players under contract to the Toronto Marlies or the Newfoundland Growlers because an AHL contract does not equal being on the reserve list. If, and this is very unlikely this year, the Maple Leafs were to sign someone under a Marlies contract to an NHL deal between now and when we vote, we’d add them.

This list is surprising in length. We all know the Leafs have had fewer draft picks the last two years, but it’s still 45 names long.

2022 T25U25 Eligible Players

Player2021 RankBirth DateAge in Days on July 1, 2022NationalityPositionCareer NHL Games Played
Nikolai ChebykinNRAugust 1, 19979,100RussiaW
Auston Matthews1September 17, 19979,053USAC407
Vladislav KaraNRApril 20, 19988,838RussiaC
Victor MeteN/AJune 7, 19988,790CanadaLD/RD236
Joey Anderson14June 19, 19988,778USARW58
Joseph WollNRJuly 12, 19988,755USAG4
Mac HollowellNRSeptember 26, 19988,679CanadaRD
Pontus Holmberg20March 9, 19998,515SwedenC/W
Ryan O’ConnellNRApril 25, 19998,468CanadaLD
Timothy Liljegren6April 30, 19998,463SwedenRD74
Nicholas Abruzzese 13June 4, 19998,428USAC9
Filip Král22October 20, 19998,290Czech RepublicLD
Alex SteevesNRDecember 10, 19998,239USAC3
Max EllisN/AJanuary 18, 20008,200USARW
Semyon KizimovNRJanuary 19, 20008,199RussiaC/W
Pavel Gogolev21February 19, 20008,168RussiaLW
Curtis DouglasN/AMarch 6, 20008,152CanadaC
Rasmus Sandin3March 7, 20008,151SwedenLD88
Axel RindellNRApril 23, 20008,104FinlandRD
Semyon Der-Arguchintsev15September 15, 20007,959RussiaC/W
Mikko Kokkonen12January 18, 20017,834FinlandLD
Kalle LoponenNRMarch 13, 20017,780FinlandRD
Mikhail Abramov11March 26, 20017,767RussiaC
Michael KosterNRApril 13, 20017,749USALD
John FuscoNRJune 12, 20017,689USALD
Dennis HildebyN/AAugust 19, 20017,621SwedenG
Nicholas Robertson5September 11, 20017,598USAW16
Veeti Miettinen17September 20, 20017,589FinlandRW
Rodion Amirov3October 2, 20017,577RussiaLW
Artur Akhtyamov 23October 31, 20017,548RussiaG
Roni Hirvonen8January 10, 20027,477FinlandC
Ryan TverbergNRJanuary 30, 20027,457CanadaC
William Villeneuve25March 20, 20027,408CanadaRD
Topi Niemelä7May 25, 20027,342FinlandRD
Wyatt SchingoetheNRAugust 3, 20027,272USAC
Dmitri Ovchinnikov16August 19, 20027,256RussiaF
Vyacheslav Peksa NRAugust 27, 20027,248RussiaG
Joe MillerNRSeptember 15, 20027,229USAF
Matthew Knies10October 17, 20027,197USALW
Braeden KresslerN/AJanuary 5, 20037,117CanadaC
Nikita GrebenkinN/AFebruary 5, 20037,086RussiaRW
Ty Voit18June 10, 20036,961USALW
Brandon LisowskyN/AApril 13, 20046,653CanadaLW
Nicholas MoldenhauerN/AMay 25, 20046,611CanadaRW/C
Fraser MintenN/AJuly 5, 20046,570CanadaC

This is Auston Matthews last time on the list, and he will graduate leaving Joe Woll the oldest player next year, assuming there isn’t someone new added born in the first 11 days of July.

New drafted prospect Fraser Minten is the youngest player, and he was eight the first year PPP did a T25.

The standout fact from this summary is that these guys have no NHL experience. Victor Mete, who just squeaks in on age the way Alexander Kerfoot did after he was acquired in trade, has the second-most NHL experience.

I noticed how many American players there are, but also that the proportion of forwards, defenders and goalies almost matches exactly the available spots on a 23-player roster. The other slight surprise is that there are five players who have entered the list as undrafted free agents.

Make sure I haven’t missed anyone — if you think someone should be there, check their age, they might have sneakily gotten older while playing in Switzerland or something. And get ready for what might be an even tougher vote than last year’s.