Do you like when Maple Leafs prospects score all the points? I know I do!
Do you like ignoring small sample hot streaks when it happens? I know I do!
The QMJHL are currently playing two different kinds of playoffs that I don’t fully understand. I believe the Quebec-based teams are playing a more traditional playoff system, with seeds and a best of seven series. Three of the Maritimes-based teams are playing some kind of round robin system, but I don’t know if that’s turning into a best of four series or just straight to the finals between the two best.
Both Victoriaville (Mikhail Abramov) and Saint John (William Villeneuve) are playing in these respective playoffs, and confusing formats aside they are both doing quite well. Saint John is 2-2 in four games, and Villeneuve is sporting 5 points and 8 shots. That’s much better than his regular season scoring rate, though he had been heating up near the end of the regular season.
Mikhail Abramov and Victoriaville are up 2-0 in their series against the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies. Abramov had two assists in his first game, and in the second last night he had FIVE points (one goal, four assists). Five of those seven points were of the primary variety, and four came on the powerplay. It’s nice to see this offensive explosion from Abramov, who started off this season really hot before the season was temporarily suspended. He looked good but not great at the World Junior Championship, but in the middle part of the season between other temporary shutdowns his production slowed down. Now, at the end of the season, he is getting the points more like we’ve come to expect.
#LeafsForever prospect Mikhail Abramov scored this beautiful goal and added four assists in Victoriaville’s 6-3 victory on Sunday.— Nick Richard (@_NickRichard) April 26, 2021
Victoriaville leads their opening round playoff series with Rouyn-Noranda 2-0. pic.twitter.com/IBuXl0e483
Meanwhile, over in Sweden, Pontus Holmberg is also seeing some great success in the playoffs. After scoring at 0.51 points per game in the regular season — a career best — and 16:13 of ice time, he’s been playing big minutes (18:29 per game) for the Växjö Lakers and rewarding them with 7 points in 7 playoff games.
Does this mean the Leafs are investing in proven playoff performers? I say yes.
ONTO THE LINKS
Another Leafs’ prospect in Finland is on the move. Kalle Loponen spent all year at the U20 level since he was blocked by a deep team in Liiga. Now, he’ll have a much better opportunity to have real minutes in the Liiga. At this point, the only Leafs prospect in Finland who hasn’t changed teams is Niemela and Rindell.
Great decision from Loponen’s camp. He’d have a really hard time getting regular minutes with Kärpät with young, right-shot defencemen Niemelä and Puutio ahead of him on the depth chart. KooKoo has done a good job at bringing up young talent in last two years. #LeafsForever https://t.co/JmlA2Heh5c— Lassi Alanen (@lassialanen) April 25, 2021
Speaking of Niemela, Scott Wheeler and Joshua Kloke had a nice article looking at his offensive improvements this season, including interviewing him to get his thoughts on noteworthy plays he had. While it was an injury-riddled season for Niemela, he did show good growth in his offensive game which was thought to be his biggest weakness when he was drafted.
Speaking of European prospects, Filip Hallander was originally supposed to leave Sweden now that his SHL season ended and come to Toronto to join the Marlies. But that has now changed:
Another prospect update coming in after the whistle: news on what might come next for Filip Hallander is now available in @theathletic’s Real Time function: https://t.co/wwniTsqh0B https://t.co/DjvKnk58Py— Joshua Kloke (@joshuakloke) April 23, 2021
The latest episode of Back to Excited is now out: “We chat about some of the things we want to watch in the rest of the regular season, including some new additions to the Leafs lineup.”
How Morgan Rielly has done against North Division competition | by Jon Steitzer at TLN
Sheldon Keefe on Adam Brooks | by MLHS. Including this money quote that I will smugly and unrealistically cling to: “He has played well in every game that he has played in the NHL going back to last season… I thought last game was his best”
‘Phenomenal’ Sandin making case for Maple Leafs’ playoff lineup | by Luke Fox at Sportsnet
A weekend fill of chippy games and questionable hits had another ugly incident to cap it off.
Have a great Monday everyone!
Which Leafs prospect do you most want to succeed?