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Brandon Lisowsky, Fraser Minten being united makes Saskatoon Blades must-watch for Toronto Maple Leafs fans

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Photo credit:Steven Ellis
Steven Ellis
2 months ago
CHL trades can look a little ridiculous sometimes.
In Fraser Minten’s case, it wasn’t all too crazy. Last week, the Kamloops Blazers traded Minten to the Saskatoon Blades for first-round picks in 2024 and 2025, a fourth-rounder in 2024 and forward Jordan Keller. After just four seven games as captain, Minten was already on the move. But when he lined up for his first game with Saskatoon on Saturday, he did so with Brandon Lisowsky, a fellow Toronto Maple Leafs prospect drafted 218th overall in 2022 – 180 spots after Minten.
Minten’s hot season has been well-documented. He had 10 points in seven games with Kamloops after starting the season with the Maple Leafs. His inclusion on the opening night roster was shocking, but it was good to see him get the chance to play and learn alongside quality veterans. Lisowsky, meanwhile, is in his fourth full-time season with Saskatoon, all with the Blades. He’s been great with 15 goals and 29 points in 25 games, putting him on pace for a career-best 80 points.
The Blades are one of the favorites to win the WHL title this year, and adding Minten to the fray only helps that. His experience playing against pros has come in handy early. His two-way prowess, mixed with Lisowsky’s finishing ability, is coming in handy this year. They’ve been paired with Anaheim Ducks prospect Yegor Sidorov, the team’s top goal-scorer with 21 goals.
If you watched Minten play last year, even during the Memorial Cup when he had just one goal in four games, there was no way you’d expect to see Minten on the Leafs roster when he made it. But he’s just so smart at both ends that it was hard to keep him away after showing a bit more pep in his step during development camp in July.
Minten is expected to make Canada’s world junior roster as one of the few players with NHL experience this year. With Shane Wright unlikely to join, Minten should get a more advanced role as a reliable, smart two-way forward.
Lisowsky looks like a long shot, given his offense isn’t anything awe-inspiring. But what he does bring to the table is a non-stop motor that allows him to force turnovers, which doesn’t always translate to the scoresheet. The best way to describe Lisowsky? He just never gives up. That’s what you’re looking for out of a player with bottom-six potential, but having Minten as a more experienced, high-output forward could help unlock some things in his game.
With Minten on board, Saskatoon’s odds of going the distance look even better. But they’re not done bulking up before the playoffs. So while the race to the WHL championship will still be difficult, having the Leafs connection will make the Blades a fun team to watch the rest of the season. If one game’s enough to go by, it doesn’t seem like it’ll take much time for Lisowsky and Minten to adjust to life together. It helps that the 5-foot-9 Lisowsky has started to heat up as of late with seven points in his past five games, including two against Portland on Saturday.
There aren’t a ton of high-profile prospects in the Leafs’ system, but meet your new favorite CHL team, Toronto.
 
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