The Leafs made 11 selections on the second day of the 2020 NHL draft. They also completed three trades during the draft. One was to move down in the draft and receive an additional pick. Another to move up by trading away two picks, and in the third trade, the Maple Leafs gained a pick in this draft for a pick in next year’s draft.
The Leafs Day 2 Recap
It seemed like forever before we finally got to the Maple Leafs selection at #44. Then it was announced that the Leafs traded the 44th pick to the Ottawa Senators. The trade moved the Leafs down in the second round to 59th and added a third-round pick at 64th. The Maple Leafs did not have a third-round pick in this draft, so they added one here.
With the 59th overall pick in the 2020 NHL Draft, the Maple Leafs selected Roni Hirvonen. Hirvonen is a centerman but has also played on the wing. He is currently listed at 6’1 and 185Lbs. The draft board had him listed at 6’0 and 167Lbs, but that was from November 2019.
He is a playmaker who is good at protecting the puck and not afraid to go hard to the net. Hirvonen can score and be productive in the dirty areas. Last season Hirvonen played the entire season with Assat in the Men’s Finnish Elite League. He recorded 16 points in 52 games.
With the 64th overall pick in the 2020 NHL Draft, the Maple Leafs selected Topi Niemela. When the Maple Leafs traded down to get a third-round pick, Niemela’s name was on my list of players I wanted the Leafs to draft. Niemela is a 6’0, 165Lbs right-shooting defenseman from Oulu, Finland.
He is good at protecting the puck on zone entries and displays great vision. One thing that stands out is his ability to find seems in a crowded neutral zone to pass the puck. He was ranked by almost everyone to be selected in the second round. Getting him at 64th overall could be a steal for the Leafs. He is awaiting the start of his second season with Karpat in the Men’s Finnish Elite League. He had seven points in 43 games with Karpat last season. His first playing in the men’s league.
With the 106th overall pick in the 2020 NHL draft, the Maple Leafs selected Artur Akhtyamov from Kazan, Russia. Akhtyamov is a 6’2, 170Lbs goaltender and is currently playing in the KHL minor league and Russian junior systems. He is good at controlling rebounds and moves well in his net. Akhtyamov is also very sound positionally but can be aggressive when needed.
Last season while playing for Irbis Kazan in the MHL (Russian Juniors), Akhtyamov posted a respectable 1.80 GAA and a .931 SV% in 46 games. So far this season, he has played three games with Irbis Kazan in the MHL and has posted a 1.67 GAA and a .926 SV%. He has also played four games this season with Bars Kazan on the VHL (Russian “AHL”). For them, he has recorded a 0.98 GAA and a .957 SV%. He is a promising young goaltender.
With the 122nd overall pick in the 2020 NHL draft, the Maple Leafs selected William Villeneuve from Sherbrooke, Quebec. This is the second right shot defenseman the Leafs have selected on day two. Villeneuve is 6’1 and 181Lbs. He has just begun his third season with the Saint John Ice Dogs in the QMJHL. Last season he recorded nine goals and 49 assists for 58 points in 64 games.
Villeneuve is a quality two-way defenseman who displays a high hockey IQ and strong passing skills. When joining the rush, he keeps his head up and makes a great first pass. In his defensive end, he displays a strong positional game. He is not caught out of position too often. Villeneuve was a finalist for the QMJHL Defenseman of the Year award.
The Maple Leafs made a trade. This time they traded up by moving picks #153 and #212 to the Florida Panthers for pick #137.
With the 137th overall pick in the 2020 NHL draft, the Maple Leafs selected Dmitry Ovchinnikov from Chita, Russia. He is currently playing in his third season with Sibirskie Snaipery Novosibirsk of the MHL. Last season, Ovchinnikov registered 24 goals and 31 assists for 55 points in 54 games. So far this season, he has three goals and four assists for seven points in six games.
Ovchinnikov is a fantastic skater with incredible edge work. He also displays great vision and can create plays out of nothing. Never afraid to drive the net and has good hands in tight. He has a good shot and also shows patience in his shooting to avoid shots being blocked. Defensively, he reads plays well and has an active stick, which he uses to break up plays. He is also quick to get back and help out his defenders during the transition.
The Maple Leafs selected three players in the sixth round.
With the 168th overall pick in the 2020 NHL draft, the Maple Leafs selected Veeti Miettinen from Espoo, Finland. Although he is not very big at 5’9 and 160 Lbs, he is very skilled. Last season with Kiekko Espoo U20, he scored 42 goals and added 31 assists for 73 points in 52 games. This season he is committed to playing at St. Cloud State University in the NCAA. Their season hasn’t started yet due to the Coronavirus.
He is a good skater who has incredible playmaking abilities. He also has a wonderful wrist shot, which he uses often. It works out well for the right-winger, as you can see from his 42 goals.
With the 177th overall pick in the 2020 NHL draft, the Maple Leafs selected Axel Rindell. Rindell is the fourth Finnish born player chosen by the Leafs in this draft. Like Miettinen, Rindell is also from Espoo, Finland. He is the third right shot defenseman picked by the Leafs and is listed as 6’0 and 176 Lbs. Last season he split time between Jukurit U20 and Jukurit. With Jukurit U20, he had three goals and five assists for eight points in 13 games. When he joined Jukurit of the Men’s Finnish Elite League, he recorded six goals and 16 assists for 22 points in 47 games.
He is an above-average shooter who can quarterback a power play with his good one-timer and deceptive wrist shot.
With the 180th overall pick in the 2020 NHL draft, the Maple leafs selected Joe Miller from Minnesota, USA. He is a very small forward at 5’9 and 146 Lbs. Last season with Blake School (Minnesota High School), he registered 25 goals and 34 assists for 59 points in 25 games. When the USHL season starts, he will play for the Chicago Steel and is committed to playing at the University of Minnesota of the NCAA in 2021-22.
With the 189th pick in the 2020 NHL draft, the Maple Leafs selected John Fusco from Massachusetts, USA. Fusco is another right-shot defenseman chosen by the Leafs to add to their defense stockpile. He registers in at 5’11 and 181 Lbs. Last season was his third and final season with Dexter Southfield School. He was also the team captain last season when he recorded 10 goals and 21 assists for 31 points in 24 games. He is committed to playing at Harvard University in 2020-21 if and when the NCAA starts its season.
With the 195th pick in the 2020 NHL draft, the Maple Leafs selected Wyatt Schingoethe from Illinois, USA. The 5’11, 201 lbs center spent the last two seasons playing for the Waterloo Black Hawks in the USHL. During those two seasons, he recorded 28 goals and 43 assists for 71 points in 109 games. He is committed to playing at the University of Denver for the 2020-21 season.
The Maple Leafs make a trade with the Boston Bruins. Going to the Bruins is a 7th round pick in the 2021 NHL draft in exchange for the 213th pick in the 2020 NHL draft.
With the 213th overall pick in the 2020 NHL draft, the Maple Leafs selected Ryan Tverberg from Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada. The center registers in at 5’11 and 174 Lbs. He spent last season playing for the Toronto Jr. Canadiens of the OJHL. He recorded 26 goals and 25 assists for 51 points in 47 games. Just like John Fusco, he is also committed to playing at Harvard University in 2020-21.
Final Thoughts on the Maple Leafs 2020 Draft.
The Maple Leafs addressed their need for more right shot defensemen by drafted four of them. They also added to their goaltending depth by adding Artur Akhtyamov. I think the Maple Leafs added a ton of skill to their prospect cupboard in this draft. A job well done by Kyle Dubas and his scouting department.
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