Cowan finishes strong, Minten & Lisowsky lead the way for Saskatoon: Leafs Prospect Roundup

Photo credit:Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports
Nick Richard
14 days ago
With leagues around the world wrapping up their regular season schedules and some already in the midst of their postseason, action in the prospect world is starting to slow down. Fortunately, the Leafs still have a number of youngsters who are pushing for playoff success as they look to climb the ranks in the organization, so let’s get to it.

Easton Cowan

It has been a remarkable campaign for the Leafs’ 2023 first-round pick, and he finished the regular season schedule on a high note. London won both of their games last week, securing the top spot in the OHL standings in the process, and Cowan was a key figure in both contests. With a goal and an assist in each game, Cowan extended his point streak to 36 games – one game shy of Sidney Crosby for the second-longest streak in the CHL since 2000. He finished the regular season with 34 goals and 62 assists in just 54 games to finish with the second-best points per game mark in the league, and he will be looking to carry that dominance into the postseason, where he really made a name for himself and improved his draft stock a year ago. Cowan and the rest of the London Knights will kick off their first-round series with the Flint Firebirds on Friday.

Fraser Minten & Brandon Lisowsky

Like London in the OHL, the Saskatoon Blades have been a dominant force in the WHL this season, with a pair of Leafs prospects in Minten and Lisowsky playing key roles in their march to the top of the standings. Minten notched a goal and an assist in the final game of the regular season to cap off an underwhelming offensive season, finishing with 22 goals and 26 assists in 43 games, but his refined two-way game has still made him an impactful player for the Blades. Lisowsky, on the other hand, lit the lamp all season and set new career highs with 42 goals and 80 points in 68 games. The Blades will get their quest for a WHL title underway with game one against Prince Albert on Thursday.

Topi Niemelä

Niemelä has quietly put together an impressive rookie season with the Marlies, leading the offensive charge from the back end while making strides in his defensive game and physical play. He had a productive weekend with a goal and an assist in Saturday’s 5-1 victory over Hartford and followed it up with another helper in Sunday’s 4-1 loss to Laval. For the season, Niemelä is up to seven goals and 26 assists in 58 games to lead all Marlies defencemen in scoring.

Dennis Hildeby

One of the biggest risers in the Leafs’ system so far this season, Hildeby continued his strong rookie season with a solid performance in Friday’s shootout victory over Rochester. He stopped 30 of the 31 shots he faced in regulation and overtime, before shutting the door and stopping all three attempts he faced in the shootout. Things didn’t go quite as well for Hildeby on Sunday as he allowed three goals on just 19 shots in a losing effort against Laval, but he still owns a respectable 2.47 GAA and .908 SV% in 34 games for the Marlies this season.

Nikita Grebyonkin

Metallurg Magnitogorsk finds themselves up 2-1 in their second-round matchup with Spartak Moskva in the KHL postseason, but Grebyonkin has been mostly held in check through the first three games of the series. His only point in the series thus far was an empty net goal in the opening contest, bringing him to two goals and three assists through nine postseason contests. Metallurg is in the driver’s seat for now, but look for Grebyonkin to sign an ELC with the Leafs whenever their playoff run comes to an end.

Nick Moldenhauer

Michigan took on Michigan State over the weekend with the Big Ten conference championship on the line, but the Wolverines were unable to secure a third consecutive title. Moldenhauer managed an assist as his club fell to the Spartans in overtime, bringing him to eight goals and 13 assists in 38 games as a freshman, and he will look to improve upon those totals as Michigan takes on North Dakota to begin the NCAA Tournament on Friday.

Noah Chadwick

It was a breakout season for the Leafs’ sixth-round pick from the 2023 draft, and he finished it off on a high note. Chadwick registered a pair of assists in Friday’s loss to Medicine Hat and found the back of the net himself in Saturday’s rematch, finishing the season with 12 goals and 44 assists in 66 games after tallying just five goals and 15 assists a season ago. Lethbridge will take on Swift Current in the first round of the WHL playoffs, and Chadwick will be relied upon to handle heavy minutes and drive offence from the blue line as he has all season.
Statistics from EliteProspects.com

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