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With the first round over for all of Toronto's prospects in the CHL, it's time for another quick check in. Even outside of the CHL, Toronto only had one of their players eliminated from the last time I wrote a playoff update in these prospect reports:

Maple Leafs Prospect Report: Playoff Updates
We’re a week into the start of the CHL playoffs and NCAA tournament, with the bulk of games happening over the Easter weekend.

The rest have advanced, or are still alive at least in an active playoff series. Let's get to it!

Easton Cowan

Cowan and London dealt with their first round matchup with relative ease, finishing with a 4-0 sweep. They did have a couple of close games on the road, with a comeback overtime win and a one goal game, but were overall dominant as expected. Cowan was a large part of it, with points in all four games – two goals and three assists and averaging four shots per game. He played on their top line in each game, and as usual was on their top powerplay and penalty kill units.

London's second round matchup will be against Kitchener, which should be a very entertaining series. They are two of the... ahem... wealthier teams in the league. They are both pretty stacked with NHL drafted prospects. They both don't like each other. Game one is set to start on Thursday April 11th at 7 pm EST. I'm really looking forward to this one.

Fraser Minten & Brandon Lisowsky

Saskatoon, as the top seed in the WHL, had a bit of a harder time in their first round matchup. They blew an early 2-0 lead and lost in game one, but then reeled off four straight wins to take the series. Minten and Lisowsky played on the same line for the vast majority of the series, and they did well together. Minten had one goal and three assists, averaged 4.6 shots per game, and was a +8 in those five games – he wasn't on the ice for an even strength goal against the whole series.

Lisowsky had one goal and two assists, but wasn't as effective or important on that line in terms of driving play, and was reliant on Minten and their other linemate (Suzdalev) to set him up. I did see more of what I noticed towards the end of the year – even if his offense isn't there as much in the playoffs, he still plays a bit of a hard, physical and pest-lite game.

Their round two matchup will be the Red Deer Rebels, who are the 5th seed in the conference after pulling off a small upset in round one. It should be another easy-ish round for Saskatoon on paper. Red Deer had a negative goal differential in the regular season, and eked out their first round in 5 games but had two overtime wins and another one goal regulation win. Game one is on Friday April 12th at 9 pm EST.

Noah Chadwick

Chadwick on Lethbridge was the one prospect eliminated from the playoffs since the last update. In fact, they were swept in four games – but this wasn't exactly a surprise, with Lethbridge as the 7th seed facing one of the top teams that loaded up the most late in the season. Despite being swept, it was a closer series than it seemed. They had two one-goal losses, including one in overtime. They slightly outshot their opponent for the series as well.

Chadwick had one assist in the series, and was playing well defensively until the final game. He had not been on for a goal against, but was on for two as Lethbridge blew a 4-1 lead. After being eliminated, Chadwick was assigned by the Maple Leafs to the AHL. I don't know if he'll actually get into any games, especially with the Growlers having folded and their defensemen under AHL contracts joining the Marlies already. But at the very least, he'll be practicing with them and getting the full attention of their skills and development coaching until their season is over. And that's a good thing for him to prepare for next season.

Braeden Kressler

Kressler and the Ottawa 67's pulled off the slight upset over Brantford as the 6th seed. I say slightly, because there was only a 5 point difference in the standings between them – the Eastern Conference was close as hell, with only 9 points separating the top 6 teams. Kressler did well to help Ottawa win the series. He had 3 goals and 5 points in the 6 game series, won 58% of the faceoffs he took, contributed on the powerplay and penalty kill, and tied for the second most shots on the team.

With the win, Ottawa's second round matchup will be the top seeded Oshawa Generals. Again, with only 9 points separating them in the standings it isn't exactly a David vs Goliath mismatch. The series starts with game one on Friday April 12th at 7:35 pm EST.

Nick Moldenhauer and Cade Webber

No updates since last time. The NCAA had a break of more than a week from the quarter finals of their tournament, with the semi finals not being played until Thursday April 11th. Moldenhauer and Michigan face the top seeded Boston College at 8:30 pm EST, while Webber and Boston University will face Denver University at 5:00 pm EST.

Nikita Grebyonkin

Grebyonkin has been having a tough go of it for the past week or two. After putting up four points in six games in round one, then adding an empty net goal in the first game of their second round series, Grebyonkin went on an eight game streak with no points. While he continued being used as one of the top forwards in all situations, that started to drop towards the end of the second round. He had five straight games playing under 14 minutes, including one just over 11 minutes, and little to no time on any special teams.

On Tuesday, he scored Metallurg's first goal of the game though Metallurg ultimately lost 5-3. He added four shots and a couple of hits throwing the body around, and so got an ice time bump with 14:47. He still didn't get a bump on special teams, with none on the powerplay and only 25 seconds on the penalty kill.

The series is tied 2-2 going back to Metallurg's home arena. The other semi finals have already been completed, with Loko winning a four game sweep. That would be Metallurg's opponent in the KHL finals if they win – which as the top seed with two of the remaining three games on their home ice, odds are in their favour. Game five will come on Thursday April 11th.

Artur Akhtyamov

Akhtyamov and Neftyanik's cinderella run as the 9th seed continues. Now in the semi finals, they have a deadlocked 2-2 series against the 2nd seeds. Akhtyamov is a large part of their success – he has a .925 sv%, two shutouts, and a 10-4 record these playoffs. But Neftyanik has also not been playing like a lower seed. The past two rounds, against the 2nd and 3rd seeds, they've been outshooting the other teams pretty much every game.

I haven't watched every game, but while it does look like they somewhat follow the "spray and pray" strategy of getting off as many shots on net as possible, it's fit into their playstyle of aggressive and physical dump and chase, forechecking, cycling, and trying to create chaos through rebounds and deflections. Defensively, they do a good job limiting shots against which does make Akhtyamov's job easier, but he's still done his job stopping most of those that get through to him.

Game five will come on the road, and will take place today starting at 10 am EST.

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