A quick update on various Leafs prospects and what they’ve been doing this week, for those who are curious but too lazy to look it up.
First, Roni Hirvonen is following Mikko Kokkonen’s lead and changing teams. He played with Ässät the past two seasons, putting up 37 points across 106 games. He will be moving onto HIFK according to a report, which is definitely an upgrade in terms of team quality. Where Ässät finished fourth last and missed the playoffs, HIFK finished second in the Liiga. It should be a good opportunity for him.
According to Iltalehti’s report, Roni Hirvonen (TOR) will play for HIFK next season. Hirvonen added six goals and 21 points in 54 Liiga games with Ässät this season. He also managed six points in seven games at this year’s U20 WJC. #LeafsForever— Lassi Alanen (@lassialanen) April 22, 2021
Sticking in Finland, Topi Niemelä’s season came to an end yesterday as Karpat was eliminated from the playoffs. Niemelä was able to return to Karpat for three games after a long injury recovery, but he did managed to produce two points including a beauty of an assist yesterday (below). He had a very strong season when he was healthy, and will look to build on it next year.
Next door to Finland, another Leafs prospect had their season come to an end. Filip Hållander’s team was eliminated on Wednesday, and there’s a possibility that he comes to Toronto for the off-season like Rodion Amirov is doing. Hållander had a decent year with 13 goals and 24 points in 51 games, and added 2 goals and 3 points in 7 playoff games.
Speaking of Amirov, he’s been found working deep undercover to recruit a top goalie prospect to the Leafs.
Early look at Rodion Amirov in Maple Leaf blue, via Yaroslav Askarov: pic.twitter.com/HjsGveeBjy— Joshua Kloke (@joshuakloke) April 22, 2021
Turning to North America, William Villeneuve is playing with Saint John in the QMJHL’s sort-of-playoffs that’s a round robin for teams based in the Maritimes. Saint John won the first game, but lost the second. Villeneuve has been good in both, with 3 points and 7 shots. He’s had a bit of a weird year. He tried to work on his defense, which resulted in his offensive production slowing down compared to last year. He did improve in the sense that he was on the ice for fewer goals against, but the team as a whole was improved in that area. He’s been turning on the offense more down the stretch, perhaps trying to unleash a more complete game in time for their playoff push. He’s still a puzzling prospect, but I’m hoping that next year he’ll have had time to work with the Leafs development team and have a strong final year in the QMJHL.
ONTO THE LINKS
MLHS Podcast Episode 12 with Bruce Boudreau talking about the Leafs | by MLHS. This was a pretty fun listen.
Save percentage and the Leafs success | by Jon Steitzer at TLN
NHL GMs updated on 2021-22 season start date, Olympics, draft. Plus, Zach Hyman contract comparables | by Pierre LeBrun at The Athletic
NHL’s top 12 RFAs of 2021: Latest rumours and reports | by Luke Fox at Sportsnet