The Toronto Maple Leafs have three players who’s rights expire soon. This means they are available to any team to sign, or for some, can re-enter for eligibility in the NHL Draft. Last season, it was guys like Keaton Middleton and Nicolas Mattinen (with the other one being J.J. Piccinich, who plays for the Growlers on a Marlies deal). This year, we see three guys, so who exactly are they?
McGregor is probably the most high-profile of this bunch. The 2017 sixth round pick didn’t turn too many heads until his breakout season in his final Junior year. The 6’1 centre captained the Sarnia Sting and had 77 points in 61 games, along with two goals in four games in the playoffs.
McGregor impressed enough to earn an ATO with the Marlies. The 20-year-old failed to impress too much in Toronto with four scoreless games before he got released. McGregor is arguably the most likely to get signed.
The Leafs look like they like him and he could attempt to convert his offence to the AHL level, or maybe even at the ECHL level. He’s a promising big player and hopefully he gets an AHL deal with the Marlies. The Maple Leafs have until June 1st to sign him.
Dakota Joshua is a guy who I feel isn’t mentioned as often as he should be. The 23-year-old is set to graduate and had a pretty decent season at Ohio State University. The 6’2 centre had 22 points in 32 games played this past year.
Those are numbers comparable to those of former Leafs prospect and current Oilers prospect Nolan Vesey. Now, when you look Vesey’s stats up, you look at me and think that this sucks. However, there are a number of key differences here.
One, Joshua is a centre, a more valuable position. Two, Vesey peaked in his final season whereas Joshua had an offseason which you could also see as a bad thing. I still think Joshua deserves an opportunity in Toronto or Newfoundland.
He’s a nice project player who could be a decent scorer at the AHL level. The Leafs have extra time to sign him until he becomes a College free agent on August 15th.
Fedor Gordeev is someone I want to see succeed. He isn’t a throwaway Mark Hunter pick where he saw his dimensions and said that’s the guy he wants. He’s genuinely a very interesting prospect.
He hadn’t even played defense for over a season when he got drafted, only recently shifting positions. At training camp, he’s acted as a translator for some of the foreign prospects so the Canadian with Russian roots made friends pretty easily. He’s 6’6 which immediately makes textbook Hockey Guys look his way.
There’s more than that though. Gordeev is pretty much the definition of a project player. He’s an offensive guy and that could be because of his forward roots.
He takes too many penalties, but has cut down significantly this season. He’s a guy that needs to use his frame more, but he could be a decent defenseman in the near future. He’s an OHL champion and will have to impress in the Memorial Cup to earn a deal with the Leafs.
In 23 games so far where he’s been highly depended on defensively, he seems to have done well, even with only three points to his name.
The Leafs have until June 1st to sign Fedor Gordeev, but if they plan on negotiating with him, it’ll be after the Memorial Cup where his Storm are facing the Halifax Mooseheads and the Prince Albert Raiders.
These three guys are all intriguing prospects, but on the other hand, I’m a sucker for that kind of thing. Do you think the Maple Leafs should resign any of these three?