After weeks of speculation regarding whether the Leafs would keep their newly acquired first round pick or trade it for immediate help, Mitch Marner stepped in front of the camera and announced that the Leafs had selected winger Rodion Amirov. Through 10 KHL games with Ufa in the KHL this season, the 19 year old Russian forward has scored three goals and 2 assists.
“He strikes with strong habits, deploying crossovers through arced attacks on the rush, made all the more potent with a nice variety of rush patterns through the neutral zone preceding these forays. His anticipation, the ability to see plays before they develop, is one of his high-level tools”
In TLN’s recent mock draft, Nick DeSouza selected Amirov on behalf of the Maple Leafs at 15th overall so the pick isn’t what you would call “off the board.”
Leafs take Rodion Amirov!
— Nick DeSouza (@NickDeSouza_) October 7, 2020
In the lead up to the draft, I previewed Amirov as a potential fit for the Leafs at 15th overall. He plays a strong two-way game and excels at carrying the puck through the neutral zone. He thinks the game at a high level in both ends of the rink and isn’t afraid to get into the dirty areas to retrieve pucks.
|LEAGUE||GP||EV P1/GP||P1/GP||S%||G||P1||P||TP/GP||EV GF%||EV GF%Rel||eTOI/GP||P1/e60||AGE SEPT 15||HT||SHOOTS|
|data via pick224.com|
I really like Rodion Amirov
— /Cam Robinson/ (@Hockey_Robinson) October 7, 2020
The Leafs have added a talented prospect to a system that was short on players with high end potential. This selection completes another part of the Kasperi Kapanen deal, with the Leafs coming away with Amirov and Filip Hallander – two prospects that instantly land near the top of the organization’s prospect ranks.
Amirov is now the newest prospect for Leafs fans to get to know and fall in love with, and between his on-ice ability and things like this, I don’t expect it will take long:
Rodion Amirov is looking for a home for a stray kitten. He’s asking @hcsalavat fans to apply to adopt “Yulaeka,” and he promises a ticket to the upcoming Red Army game. If you send him photo/video updates every 3 months, you’ll get more tix. After 1 year, a stick. #nhldraft2020 pic.twitter.com/6LANb9HkSS
— Gillian Kemmerer (@gilliankemmerer) October 3, 2020
While the pick doesn’t check any boxes for an organizational need, by most accounts Amirov was the most skilled player available in the draft. The decision to bring him in puts the Leafs in a situation where they can continue to rely on affordable entry level contracts on the wing to offset the money being spent on the core of the franchise. Cheaper wingers also mean that there will eventually be more money for defense, which is certainly a plus as well. While there isn’t a timeline for when we’ll see Amirov in North America, he’s a player playing now, so we can immediately see what he has to offer in the KHL, which is also pretty exciting.