Following in the footsteps of the professional leagues, the leagues around the world hosting Toronto Maple Leafs prospects have also made decisions regarding the current COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus) pandemic.
This will see several prospects seasons come to an abrupt end, while others see play suspended pending cancellation or resumption of their respective seasons.
Canadian Hockey League
The Canadian Hockey League is the governing body that oversees the three major junior leagues - the Western Hockey League, Ontario Hockey League and the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. CHL President Dan MacKenzie announced that all three leagues will be suspending play. This comes after the Quebec government announced a ban on indoor public gatherings of more than 250 people.
Nick Robertson - F - 46GP - 55G - 31A - 86Pts
Semyon Der-Arguchintsev - F - 55GP - 12G - 63A - 75Pts
Peterborough Petes - OHL
The Peterborough Petes were having an amazing season that saw Nick Robertson break the 50 goal mark, the team finally being big name buyers at the trade deadline, bringing in World Juniors gold medalist Akil Thomas, and Semyon Der-Arguchintsev having a bounce back season; he doubled his goal total over last year and moved from 46 points to 75. While the Petes had no chance of caching the Ottawa 67’s for first place, they were settled into third place in the Eastern Conference, and would be visiting the GTA for the playoffs if they were happening.
Kalle Loponen - D - 56GP - 6G - 18A - 24Pts
Sudbury Wolves - OHL
After being drafted out of the division 2 team Hermes Kokkola in Finland, Loponen joined the OHL’s Sudbury Wolves for his draft+1 year. Moving to the Canadian juniors to acclimatize to North American hockey, Loponen has so far doubled his points from the blueline - 12 to 24 - and gotten into his first hockey fight. The Wolves season wasn’t as strong as last year’s but they did get the second seed in the Eastern Conference by winning the Central Division.
Riley Stotts - F - 64GP - 25G - 43A - 68Pts
Calgary Hitmen - WHL
In two more games this season, Stotts bumped his point totals up by eleven, and his goals by six. His Draft+2 year hasn’t been as exciting as hoped, and his rights expire on June 1st. With the Maple Leafs making moves on prospect contracts earlier this week it’s not looking good for Stotts’ chances at sticking around at the NHL deal level. The Hitmen ended play sitting in the first Wild Card playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
Filip Kral - D - 53GP - 12G - 37A - 49Pts
Spokane Chiefs - WHL
The Chiefs are playing in Washington State, which already had a ban on large crowds, so they were playing under stricter guidelines than the rest of the league. Like Stotts, Kral is a 2018 draft pick and his rights expire on June 1st. He has been having a great season; his points have improved in both goals and assists, and more importantly he has reduced his penalty minutes from 24 to 14 to only 8 this season. More responsible and more active with the puck. I can see him getting at minimum an offer for an AHL deal, but he should get an ELC. The Chiefs were having a good season up to now, firmly entrenched in the third spot in the US Division, while Everett and Portland fought over first.
Zachary Bouthillier - G - 45GP - 4.16GAA - .897sv% - 2SO
Saint John Sea Dogs - QMJHL
Bouthillier was never a player with flashy numbers, but moving to the starting from scratch Sea Dogs tanked his to the point of no return. To me the writing was on the wall for Bouthillier when he wasn’t invited to Leafs training camp in the fall. His rights expire on June 1st.
Mikhail Abramov - F - 63GP - 35G - 41A - 76Pts
Victoriaville Tigres - QMJHL
Abramov was just signed to an entry level contract with the Maple Leafs after a season that saw him emerge from a questionable draft pick to a red hot prospect.
The Tigres haven’t been a powerhouse team this year, but settled into the middle of the Western Conference, ending the season in fifth place.
United States Hockey League
The USHL made the announcement to suspend play immediately, until further notice.
The Maple Leafs have one player in the league this year, Michael Koster.
Michael Koster - F - 37GP - 3G - 15A - 18Pts
Koster hasn’t had the easiest transition out of high school hockey, but he was dealing with an injury early on in the season that saw him skip some road trips. He’s committed to the University of Minnesota next season. The Storm, like the Tigres above, were a middling team in the Western Conference, sitting in fourth place.
National Collegiate Athletic Association
Initially the NCAA let individual conferences handle the organization of their sports, and some made decisions to play in empty arenas while other teams have dropped out of the playoffs entirely. Yesterday the NCAA announced that all spring championships were cancelled outright.
Ryan O’Connell - D - 29GP - 1G - 6A - 7Pts
Ohio State Buckeyes - Big10
O’Connell is in his sophomore season season at Ohio state, and he more than tripled his output from last season - two points to seven! Some players don’t bloom until their junior year when they generally get more ice time and opportunities, so we’ll have to see how the rest of his college career goes before making a decision.
The Buckeyes made it to the Big10 semi-finals before the playoffs were cancelled.
JD Greenway - D - 34GP - 1G - 9A - 10Pts
University of Maine Black Bears - Hockey East
The Black Bears were originally going to play their Hockey East Quarter Finals in an empty arena before the tournament was cancelled. The Bears had a shot at winning the series against Connecticut too. This was Greenways first NCAA season since leaving Wisconsin midway through the 2017-2018 season. While the Maple Leafs own his rights until he leaves school, it’s doubtful he’ll get a shot.
Nicholas Abruzzese - F - 31GP - 14G - 30A - 44Pts
Harvard Crimson - ECAC
Harvard was one of the first schools to play in an empty arena, and became the first school to withdraw from the NCAA tournament last week. The Crimson were having a very strong season, with Abruzzese being one of the top freshman in NCAA hockey this season. Abruzzese was second overall in freshman scoring, behind only Vegas Golden Knights draft pick Jack Dugan. Abruzzese was also leading Harvard in scoring, an impressive feat for a rookie. Harvard should continue to do well next year, with the majority of their leading scorers being first and second year players.
Mikko Kokkonen - D - 39GP (Liiga) - 3G - 7A - 10Pts
The Liiga is going to finish their regular season playing in empty arenas, and Kokkonen has one more game to play on Saturday. He was loaned to their junior team to stack the roster for a few games last week, but they did not advance. Jukurit is out of the Liiga playoffs, and his season was ending on Saturday anyway, but those playoffs are now suspended.
Eemeli Räsänen - D - 17GP (KHL) - no points
Jokerit is proceeding in the KHL playoffs, and will play all home games in empty arenas per Finnish order. Any games played in Moscow must also be without fans. Otherwise the playoffs are proceeding as normal for now. Jokerit is not likely to use Räsänen, and they have reportedly loaned him to the junior team which is in the Finnish junior playoffs — if those actually go ahead.
Note for new readers to European prospect news: Jokerit is a KHL team based in Finland, but totally unrelated to Jukurit the Finnish Liiga team.
Pontus Holmberg - F - 52GP - 7G - 10A - 17Pts
The SHL played their last regular season games on Thursday, March 12. They have suspended their playoffs until March 24, and while they have set dates for their quarterfinal series, that may change. Holmberg’s team has (just) made the first round, which is a four-team play-in, the two winners face the first- and second-place teams in the next round.
Semyon Kizimov - F - 45GP - 5G - 7A - 12 Pts
Kizimov has also played in seven playoff games, where he had no points. Lada was defeated in seven games in the first round, so Kizimov’s season is over.
Vladislav Kara - F - 27GP - 4G - 4A - 8Pts - KHL and 25GP - 7G - 14A - 21Pts - VHL
Ak Bars Kazan, KHL and Bars Kazan, VHL
Kara has played six playoff games in the VHL and has two goals and one assist so far. Bars won their first round series and are down 2-0 in their second round series vs SKA-Neva. It’s possible Kara will be called up to the KHL if Bars are beat out. There is no indication the VHL playoffs will be postponed or cancelled.
And that’s the prospect story for now. If anyone starts playing again, we’ll come back to this, but until that happens, the prospect reports are on hiatus like everyone else.