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FTB: Development camp hustle

Kyle Dubas overshadows the start of development camp with a new contract for Pierre Engvall.

Toronto Maple Leafs host 44 prospects at their rookie development camp
Twins Ty Jackson, #97 and Dylan Jackson, #94, compete during a drill as the Toronto Maple Leafs host 44 prospects at their rookie development camp at Ford Performance Centre in Toronto. July 17, 2022.
Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images

The Toronto Maple Leafs started up their annual Development Camp for their draft picks this weekend, bringing along some invitees as well. It continues through this week, and there should be some news and profiles of the players coming out in the coming days.

Before we get to news form the camp, there was a bit of pending business taken care of yesterday by GM Kyle Dubas, getting Pierre Engvall to sign a one year contract extension. Engvall had Restricted Free Agent status and was eligible to elect to have a salary arbitration hearing, but instead the Leafs got a contract done before that was necessary. Here’s our open comment thread on the Engvall extension:

This leaves Rasmus Sandin as the only player still in RFA status without a contract. The Leafs are already technically over the regular-season salary cap by about $1.5M before allocating any money to Sandin, so a trade now seems inevitable, if not required to sign him.

For the record, here is the full list of NHL players who elected salary arbitration before the deadline passed yesterday. Teams can still elect for salary arbitration up until 5:00 p.m. today. Arbitration would start on July 27 and spread out over a few days after that.

Development Camp

The annual Development Camp for Leafs prospects was in full swing on Sunday with attendance of lots of both new and older draft picks, some flying in from Europe, and a smattering of invitees not drafted to the NHL, speaking of which, I have to start by sharing this cute photo captured by The Star photographer of the Jackson twins at the camp.

Toronto Maple Leafs host 44 prospects at their rookie development camp
Twins Ty Jackson, #97 and Dylan Jackson, #94
Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images

They are from Oakville and now both playing hockey in the NCAA, going to Arizona State this fall, which you may recall launched a Division I program recently, and will now also be the hosts of the NHL Coyotes for several years while the Coyotes build their new arena (at least that’s the Coyotes current plan—who knows with that team if it actually happens).

The Leafs newly-promoted Assistant General Manager Hayley Wickenheiser is running the camp. Wickenheiser is also making us all look lazy at the same time with this quote from the Toronto Sun story:

Wickenheiser has not slowed down her medical studies despite her job with the Leafs and taking the AGM title. A few nights she has put in a full 24 hours at the hospital completing her residency and coming right to the rink the next morning. “One gives energy to the other. I always feel grateful because it gives me perspective. When I’m talking to players (I say), ‘Hey, it’s not the end of the world’. Because sometimes (at the hospital) I see the end of the world”

Here is her full press conference.

And here is Matthew Kines breaking the ankles of camp invitee Marshall Rifai.

To quote our own Brigstew:

If there was one skill I noticed straight away with Knies, before he even had his NCAA breakout, it was that he was superb at protecting the puck. Once he had his back to you, good freaking luck trying to knock him off it or poke it away.

We also got to hear from the Leafs new goalie draft pick Dennis Hildeby

The Development Camp continues through the week, so we should see more clips of the prospects as the days go by. Wick also said they are going bowling one night this week, and I hope the Leafs social media team is there to capture that. Do kids even go bowling these days? Do they think they are “going for a bowl”? I mean, that’s legal in Ontario if you’re at least 19...

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