Toronto will be keeping a close and watchful eye on the 2022 World Junior Championship Summer Edition in Red Deer, Alberta as a few Maple Leafs prospects look to make an impact for their respected nations.
The tournament kicked off on August 10 and the Maple Leafs have three prospects playing in the tournament.
Topi Niemela – Finland – The Finnish born defenseman was drafted by the Toronto Maple Leafs 64th overall in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft. This season he is an integral part of the Finland National World Junior U20 team battling for gold in Red Deer, Alberta.
The 2002 birth year Finland native plays for Oulun Karpat of the Finnish Liiga. Topi Niemela hails from Oulun, Finland and currently has two points in four games combined. The third round draft selection will be a crucial part to the Finland National Team’s success in Alberta, Canada
Roni Hirvonen – Finland – The Toronto Maple Leafs prospect was a second round selection and the 59th overall pick in the 2020 NHL entry draft is the second of two prospects in the World Junior Championship playing for the Finland National team. The five-foot-nine forward has already signed an entry level deal with the Maple Leafs and his Leadership has helped Finland find success in the preliminary rounds of the 2022 World Junior Tournament.
The Espoo, Finland native has been crucial through the first four games of the tournament, he has 2 goals and 6 assists heading into the quarterfinals.
Matthew Knies – USA – The 2021 2nd round 57th overall selection has found his role among the very talented USA National team at the World Junior Championship. The six-foot-three forward has been a physical and defensive role player for the Americans. Not a bad role considering the young centre man has been impressive while shutting down the best of the best the world has to offer at the World Junior Tournament.
This far through the tournament Matthew Knies has rallied two assists in four games as the USA National squad heads into the knockout stages with a perfect record and the team looks strong and hungry. Matthew Knies and his teammates have proven they can battle a little adversity and that they can play in tight scoring contests. All good signs as the team heads into the quarter finals looking to take another gold medal on Canadian soil.
The Toronto Maple Leafs have plenty of work in front of them but the reassurance of top prospects being developed and stock piled again is a great sign for the future.
Which Maple Leafs prospect do you think will have the biggest impact at the World Junior Championship?
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