Reported by Darren Dreger on Thursday night, Miro Aaltonen will be returning to the KHL for the 2018-19 season, per his agent.
Todd Diamond, Miro Aaltonen’s agent says he has informed the Toronto Maple Leafs that Aaltonen is returning to the KHL for next season.— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) June 21, 2018
Putting a dent into many 2018-19 forward line-up predictions, Aaltonen seemed to be in contention for fourth-line center spot.
Aaltonen signed a one-year entry-level contract last summer and spent all season with the Marlies in the AHL. Scoring 20 goals and 43 points in 64 games, Aaltonen played an important role in the Marlies top-6 all season. Predominantly in the playoffs, centering their top line with Andreas Johnsson and Carl Grundstrom.
Turning 25-years-old last month, Aaltonen isn’t really considered a prospect and has most likely maxed out his potential as a player. He will certainly be a top-tier talent in the KHL, in the 2016-17 season with Vityaz Podolsk, he scored 19 goals and 44 points in 59 games. Certainly earning a shot at making the NHL.
With the rumours swirling of Tavares, and the possibility of Nylander moving to center, Aaltonen surely had to impress in camp to earn a spot on the Leafs roster. He will be missed for his Calder Cup-winning performances, but it’s not a problem in the big picture.