A total of 32 players will make their way to Traverse City, Michigan for the annual rookie tournament. This year will mark the first year the Leafs will be participating, after previously played in local tournaments in London, Ontario or Oshawa, Ontario, Toronto will be heading across the border to play with eight other NHL teams.
Making our first trip to the Traverse City Prospects Tournament.
See the full @MapleLeafs roster for the eight-team tournament.
— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) August 26, 2019
The other participating teams are the Detroit Red Wings, Minnesota Wild, Chicago Blackhawks, Columbus Blue Jackets, Dallas Stars, St. Louis Blues, and New York Rangers.
Among those players are two that the Leafs selected in the 2019 NHL Draft — Nick Robertson and Mikhail Abramov. Robertson had an impressive showing in international play this summer and will be playing in the blue and white for the first time.
Other recent draftees that will be playing in the tournament are Mac Hollowell, Semyon Der-Arguchintsev, Filip Kral, Riley Stotts, and Ian Scott. While players that have yet to either play professionally or make their mark on North America are also included, like goaltender Joseph Woll and winger Egor Korshkov.
Included in the roster are other free agent signings, such as Amercan-Finnish defenceman Teemu Kivihalme. The 24-year-old will be playing in North America for the first time since his time at Colorado College, which ended in 2017.
A total of 12 players that are currently signed to AHL contracts will also participate, including Justin Brazeau, Joseph Duszak, and Maksim Zhukov. They have also invited some current free agents to play in the tournament.
The Leafs have invited nine free agents to their prospect tournament: Vladimir Alistrov, Joe Carroll, James Hamblin, Sean Larochelle, Josh Nelson, Marc-Antoine Pepin, Carter Robertson, Xavier Simoneau and Nathan Staios.
— James Mirtle (@mirtle) August 26, 2019
The Traverse City tournament will span a total of four days, from September 6th-10th.
Sept. 6th — 6:30 pm ET — vs St. Louis
Sept. 7th — 3:00 pm ET — vs Chicago
Sept. 9th — 6:00 pm ET — vs Detroit
Sept. 10th — TBD — Championship Game
There is no doubt that there will be some must-see prospects for the Leafs. Some with a little more hype behind them, but there will be a strong showing from the lot.
As the rookie tournament approaches, this is the first real sign of the regular season approaching. Training camps are just weeks away and the Leafs themselves will be heading into a high-pressure season that will be full of storylines as they go through the standard ups and downs of a team in the NHL.