After Josh Ho-Sang on Team Canada and Matthew Knies with Nick Abruzzese on Team USA were all eliminated from Olympic medal contention in the quarter finals, the Leafs are left with one final prospect still playing for a medal.
Pontus Holmberg and Team Sweden will be taking on Russia in the semi-finals at 8:10 am EST this morning. They will be underdogs, but even if they lose they could always win a bronze medal against the loser of Finland-Slovakia in last night’s other semi-final. Holmberg hasn’t gotten the same kind of ice time as the others, even Ho Sang who was slowly dumped down the lineup by Claude Julien.
Here is Holmberg’s ice time and stats in his four games so far:
- 13:26 vs Latvia, with one assist
- 9:24 vs Slovakia, with no points or shots
- 5:52 vs Finland, with one shot and no points
- 10:31 vs Canada in the quarter finals, with one assist and one shot
So in four games, he has two points and two shots. He’s been averaging under 10 minutes per game. It will hopefully serve as a bit of a sobering moment for people who got a bit too high on Holmberg’s helium-rise as a prospect in the SHL. Being a top player there, at his age, does not mean he’s a lock for a top 9 role in the NHL. If he does make the NHL, it will likely be in a depth role.
While we’re on the topic, people should also probably cool it on the hype for Matthew Knies and Nick Abruzzese. They both had solid tournaments, they both look like good prospects. But their competition was mostly guys who were not good enough for the NHL anymore, at best. The rest are guys who may not have even been good enough for the AHL. That’s not to take away from how they looked, but we shouldn’t expect either to be jumping to the NHL and carry the Leafs to the Cup after the NCAA season is over.
Abruzzese may sign, since he’s in his (technically) third season and started his NCAA career later than most. He may want to complete his fourth year in Harvard for the education, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he signs his ELC later this year. Knies on the other hand is very likely to stay in Minnesota for at least one more year. While he’s been a good NCAA player as a freshman, and a top player for Minnesota, he has not been dominant. There are things he can still improve, even if he could reasonably jump to the AHL right now and do pretty well. That doesn’t mean he’d be good enough to have an impact in the NHL, however. He’ll be a good player in time, but he’s still got some work to do.
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Some prospect signing news...
🖊 We’ve signed defenceman Mac Hollowell to a one-year, two-way contract extension. #LeafsForever— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) February 17, 2022
Some more trade speculation ahead of the deadline...
Frank Seravalli reporting that the Leafs are one of four teams interested in Brandon Hagel https://t.co/iFYM2mMInh— Michael (@TheLeafsIMO) February 17, 2022
MISCELLANEOUS HOCKEY NEWS
Kraken debuting historic all-Black TV broadcast crew vs. Jets | by Sportsnet
IIHF president Tardif ‘optimistic’ NHLers will be at the 2026 Olympics | by Sportsnet
Hughes on possible Petry, Chiarot trades: ‘If we think a deal is the right one, we’ll do it’ | by TSN
The big news for international hockey came during an IIHF press conference earlier yesterday: https://www.iihf.com/en/events/2022/olympic-m/news/32185/iihf_leadership_excited_in_beijing
The two big points are that the Women’s U18 championship will be held in the summer somewhere in America, which is huge news considering the momentum behind the growth of women’s hockey of late.
Meanwwhile the World Juniors will resume — from the beginning — in late August. The same age restrictions apply, so if you were eligible when they tried to hold it in December you’ll be eligible now. But teams can bring all new rosters within those restrictions. That could prove interesting.
Finally, I’ll leave you with this...
Hot mic in Chicago. Ref tells a complaining Andrew Peeke "Shut the f..." pic.twitter.com/5k8hyGnY3B— Brady Trettenero (@BradyTrett) February 18, 2022