The Darryl Sittler era. The Dougie Gilmour era. Mats Sundin era. The Phil Kessel era, the Auston Matthews era. But not the Keaton Middleton era, as it looks like he’ll never get a formal chance to suit up for the Blue and White.
Today, it was reported that the 2016 fourth-round pick would not be added to Kyle Dubas’ arsenal, as the Leafs chose not to offer him an entry-level contract.
— Dhiren Mahiban (@dcmahiban) May 23, 2018
Middleton became somewhat of a punchline over the past few seasons in Toronto, with many believing that he was only drafted due to his 6-foot-5 frame and not his ability. He posted just 16 points in his first 127 OHL games and has has upped that to just 42 over his next 128 games. He finished third on his Saginaw Spirit team in defensive scoring, which while isn’t everything, doesn’t exactly inspire confidence on a bad team. It’s likely the Leafs didn’t see much in Middleton, but perhaps they spent the time scouting teammate Blade Jenkins, a projected selection in the middle rounds of the draft.
While he appears to have been a miss, the one positive is the Leafs haven’t committed themselves a roster spot in his development if there’s not an apparent NHL future there.