Cowan earns award nomination, Leafs sign Quillan: Leafs Prospect Roundup

Photo credit:twitter.com/londonknights
Nick Richard
2 months ago
Easton Cowan’s fantastic season and meteoric rise in the prospect world have been well-documented in this space and many others over the last several months, and on Tuesday, he was recognized by the OHL as London’s nominee for the Red Tilson Trophy. The award is handed out annually to the league’s most outstanding player, and Cowan has put together a resumé that is more than worthy.
Cowan finished the regular season on a 36-game point streak, ending the campaign with 34 goals and 62 assists in just 54 games. His 94 points were the second most by a Knights’ player this season, but he played 10 fewer games than leading scorer Denver Barkey and ultimately finished with the second-highest points-per-game mark in the entire OHL.
Both Cowan and Barkey played huge roles in leading London to a first-place finish in the regular season, and that success has continued in the early days of the OHL playoffs. The Knights kicked off their first-round series against the Flint Firebirds on Friday, with Cowan sealing a 3-0 victory on an open netter in game one. He kept the streak going in game two, registering a pair of assists as London jumped out to a 2-0 series lead with a 6-4 comeback win on Sunday.
It has been a steady upward trajectory for Cowan going all the way back to the beginning of last season, but he really turned heads and caught the attention of the Leafs’ scouting staff in the playoffs, where he became a legitimate difference-maker for the Knights on his way to nine goals and 12 assists in 20 games.
If London is to go on another deep run this postseason, Cowan will be relied upon even more as a leader and driving force. He and the Knights are off to a good start, and with the season he has put together, there is little reason to believe his progression will slow down any time soon.

Notes from the rest of the prospect pool:

  • Fraser Minten and Brandon Lisowsky kicked off their postseason last Thursday as Saskatoon fell to Prince Albert by a score of 4-3. Minten notched an assist in the losing effort and secured another helper in game two as the Blades pulled even with a 4-1 victory. Lisowsky has been held off the scoresheet through two games, and he will need to find the offensive flair he showed in the regular season if Saskatoon is to go on a long run.
  • Nikita Grebyonkin and his Metallurg teammates advanced to the KHL semifinals on Saturday, defeating Spartak Moskva in game six by a score of 3-0. After a productive first round, Grebyonkin’s only point of the second round was an empty net goal in the opening contest, and he saw his ice time shrink in the final two games against Spartak. He was a big part of Metallurg’s offensive attack all season and will look to get back on track in the semifinals against Avtomobilist. Grebyonkin’s immediate priority is helping lead his club to a KHL title, but all signs point to him signing his entry-level deal with the Leafs whenever their run comes to an end.
  • Artur Akhtyamov is off to the VHL semifinals, and he has been huge for Neftyanik through the first two rounds. He closed out the second round with a 21-save shutout in game six against Zauralie and now owns a 2.23 GAA to go along with a .926 SV% through 10 postseason contests. Akhtyamov is already under contract with the Maple Leafs, but it remains to be seen whether he will join the Marlies at the conclusion of his VHL playoff run or whether the Leafs will opt to have him begin his offseason in preparation for an AHL debut next fall.
  • Someone who could potentially join the Marlies soon is defenceman Noah Chadwick. He had a breakout season for Lethbridge in the WHL, earning an ELC with the Leafs just a few months after being drafted in the sixth round of the 2023 draft. The Hurricanes entered the postseason as an underdog and find themselves down two games to none in their first-round series against Swift Current, with Chadwick being held scoreless thus far. He will be eligible to join Toronto’s AHL club when his WHL season ends.
  • While prospects Veeti Miettinen and Mikey Koster had their NCAA seasons come to an end over the last week or so, Nick Moldenhauer and Cade Webber are off to the Frozen Four with Michigan and Boston University, respectively. Michigan has a tough test on its hands in the #1 ranked Boston College Eagles, while #2 Boston University will take on #3 ranked Denver for a shot at the National title. There is still time before their rights expire this summer, but entry-level contracts don’t appear imminent for Miettinen and Koster at this point, and they are both eligible to return for a fifth NCAA season in 2024-25.
  • The Leafs did sign an NCAA player on Monday, however, as the club announced the signing of 22-year-old centre Jacob Quillan out of Quinnipiac University. The Nova Scotia native had a productive NCAA season, including an overtime winner in the national championship against Matthew Knies’ Minnesota Golden Gophers a year ago. Quillan served as Quinnipiac’s first-line centre this past season, tallying an NCAA career-best 46 points in 39 games. His entry-level contract will begin next season but he is expected to join the Marlies on an ATO for the remainder of this season. Quillan is a projectable pro who does a lot of things well but doesn’t possess any real standout skills. He skates well, plays a good straight-line game with the ability to be creative in transition, and is a reliable defensive presence down the middle. For an organization that isn’t incredibly deep at centre, nabbing one of the top college free agents is a nice piece of business for Brad Treliving and his staff.
  • There could be one less place for Leafs prospects to play professionally soon. The club’s ECHL affiliate in Newfoundland is in trouble and could be forced to suspend operations as early as this week unless a sale of the team can be worked out. Stay locked into TheLeafsNation.com for more as the story develops.
Statistics from EliteProspects.com

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