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Prospect Roundup: Leafs on loan, Hallander heating up

We’ve now moved beyond the exciting, transaction filled part of the offseason into the slog of GM meetings and discussions surrounding the return of various leagues throughout North America, both amateur and professional. There have been vague plans and tentative target dates but everybody knows that the coming season is still very much up in the air for leagues like the the AHL and CHL, as well as the USHL and NCAA. With many NHL prospects on something of an indefinite hiatus, their clubs have been hard at work hammering out loan agreements with teams in Europe that have already gotten their seasons underway. Roster spots are becoming scarce in the European professional ranks, so NHL teams are being forced to prioritize and act quickly if they want to get their young talent into meaningful games before 2021.

Semyon Der-Arguchintsev – C – Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod (KHL)

SDA had a disappointing draft+1 season but bounced back last season to the tune of 75 points in 55 games playing alongside fellow Maple Leafs prospect Nick Robertson in Peterborough. The 76th overall pick from 2018 was ticketed for his first tour of duty with the Marlies this season but that will have to wait, with the North American hockey calendar turned upside down for the foreseeable future. Instead, the Leafs announced this week that the team has loaned Der-Arguchintsev to Torpedo of the KHL. The AHL has targeted February for their return to play so it seems likely that SDA will play out the remainder of the 2020-2021 campaign in the KHL.

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Mikko Kokkonen – LHD – Jukurit (Liiga)

Jukurit has struggled to begin the season with just two victories in their first nine games, and while it is probably asking a bit too much of him at just 19 years of age, Kokkonen has performed admirably as the team’s number one defenceman. He currently leads his team with 21:24 of ice time per game, his 48.7 CF% is tops among Jukurit blue liners, and his 77 defensive zone starts are 7 more than his next closest teammate – who just happens to be fellow Leafs prospect Axel Rindell. Kokkonen is a virtual lock for the Finnish World Junior team and will likely play heavy minutes for them, too.

Filip Hallander – LW – Lulea (SHL)

After a slow start offensively, Hallander is beginning to find his name on the score sheet a bit more often. He has picked up an assist in each of his last two games and is now up to one goal and four assists through nine games. He hasn’t been shy about shooting the puck, currently second among Lulea forwards with 25 shots on goal despite playing the sixth most minutes at 15:35 per game. If he continues possessing the puck in the offensive zone and directing at the net with that kind of frequency, the points will come.

Mac Hollowell – RHD – TUTO (Mestis)

The former Soo Greyhound spent his first pro season splitting time between the Marlies and the Newfoundland Growlers of the ECHL, and was somewhat surprisingly included on the Leafs initial return to play roster back in July. The organization clearly has a plan for Hollowell so it wasn’t exactly surprising that they found him a place to play while he awaits the return of the AHL, announcing he had been loaned to TUTO of Mestis in Finland earlier this week. Hollowell is a fantastic skater and that’s helped him hold his own as a 5’10” defenceman but he is still learning the nuances of defending at the pro level.

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Pontus Holmberg – C – Vaxjo Lakers (SHL)

Holmberg continues to be a key contributor for Vaxjo, playing over 16 minutes per game early on in the season. He is up to four goals and two assists through 11 games – good for .54 points per game compared to .33 points per game last season. The Leafs’ sixth round selection from 2018 is growing more comfortable in his role with Vaxjo and if he can maintain his strong play over the course of the SHL season, there’s still a chance he could earn that entry level contract that has proven elusive for so many late round draft picks.

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William Villeneuve – RHD – Saint John Sea Dogs (QMJHL)

It hasn’t been the start to the QMJHL season that William Villeneuve had hoped for, and he’s picked up just a single assist through six games after registering 58 points in 64 games during his draft year. The entire Sea Dogs team hasn’t looked sharp to begin the season but there’s still plenty of time for Villeneuve and his teammates to turn it around. There are some projectable tools in his game but Villeneuve will need to improve his processing speed as well as his raw quickness and agility as he develops.

Dmitri Ovchinnikov – C/RW – Siberskie Snaipery Novosibirsk (MHL)

Ovchinnikov was having a productive season in the MHL with 12 points after his first nine games. Unfortunately, he didn’t get much of a chance to add to those totals in his 10th game after being forced to leave early on in Tuesday’s matchup against Togliatti. Thankfully, the injury is reportedly a minor one and shouldn’t keep the young Russian out of the lineup for an extended period of time. Ovchinnikov has shown that he can be a top player at the MHL level, and his play off of the puck could help separate him from his peers as he works to secure an opportunity in the VHL or KHL.

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(Statistics from Liiga.fi, SHL.se,

and elitepropsects.com)