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Photo Credit: Youtube Screencap / Toronto Maple Leafs

Leafs appear to walk away from three drafted prospects

Teams across the National Hockey League had until 5:00 PM today to sign a list of drafted prospects to entry level contracts. The Toronto Maple Leafs had three of those on their board, and from the looks of it, all three have been walked away from.

DRAFTED 2016/17 SEASON
PLAYER SELECTED AGE YEAR RD PICK TEAM LEAGUE GP G A PTS PIM +/- NHLE
FABRICE HERZOG 22 2013 5 142 ZURICH LIONS NLA 44 9 11 20 14 10 16.02
NIKITA KOROSTELEV 20 2015 7 185 STING/PETES OHL 55 29 35 64 12 1 28.63
STEPHEN DESROCHER 21 2015 6 155 KINGSTON FRONTENACS OHL 65 12 39 51 30 1 19.3

While there is the possibility that Toronto has quietly inked these players just before the cutoff and are just waiting to put out a press release, it appears unlikely. Most teams have made their mind up about their players, with Bokondji Imama (drafted by Tampa Bay, acquired by Los Angeles yesterday) appearing to be the only one to put pen to paper.

In Toronto’s case, all three players will re-enter the NHL Entry Draft. The only one of the three that I could see getting re-selected is Korostelev; Herzog appears to be happy back home in Switzerland and Desrocher’s numbers weren’t that crazy impressive for a 21-year-old.

Should they pass through, it’s certainly possible that the players could return to the organization on AHL deals. I wouldn’t bet too hard on it though, given the team’s depth. As I wrote last week, losing players like this would be damaging to most organizations, but as Toronto fills themselves to the brim with youth, you have to begin prioritizing which eggs go into which basket. It’s a situation of abundance rather than incompetence, and while you hate to see assets go away for nothing, the fact that the reasoning is because better options are in the way is comforting.