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ToHN Daily: Maple Leafs prospects going to WJC, Flames shut down

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Maple Leafs prospects heading to the World Juniors, the Flames are shut down, Fabbri inks a new deal in Detroit and more.

There are three players on the Toronto Maple Leafs reserve list that will be participating in the upcoming World Junior Hockey Championship in Edmonton and Red Deer, Alberta.

 

Matt Knies, LW, Team USA

University of Minnesota

2nd round pick in 2021

6-3, 205

7 G, 9 A, +3, 18 GP

Knies is a big winger who can create chances offensively. He was born in Phoenix to Slovakian parents and played minor hockey in Arizona before going to Tri-City of the USHL. He has been an impact player as a freshman for the Golden Gophers, ranking third on the team in scoring.

“He’s a big kid with a lot of talent and plays hard, plays the game the right way,” said Golden Gophers head coach Bob Motzko.

Topi Niemela, D, Finland

Karpat, SM-Liiga

3rd round pick in 2020, unsigned

5-11, 169

6 G, 18 A, +4, 31 GP

Niemela ranks second in scoring among defencemen and is generating more than three shots per game in Finland’s Liiga. He is a nimble puck mover, not very big, but also reliable in the defensive zone. His emergence as a high-end puck-moving prospect this season makes him very interesting for the long term on the Maple Leafs blueline.

Roni Hirvonen, C, Finland

HIFK, SM Liiga

2nd round pick in 2020, unsigned

5-11, 172

6 G, 10 A, -1, 28 GP

A small forward who is responsible defensively, Hirvonen should be a top forward for Finland at the World Juniors. He and Niemela handle significant responsibility for their club teams so a tournament against teenagers offers an opportunity to produce even more offensively.

 

To the links…

CANADA HOCKEY NOW

Montreal: Canadiens GM search includes women.

Vancouver: New Canucks President Rutherford says, “Plenty of work to do.”

Calgary: Flames games postponed, including against the Maple Leafs this week, due to COVID.

Toronto: Five Takeaways – Defensive miscues cause for concern, even in a win.

 

NHL NEWS AND NATIONAL HOCKEY NOW

Detroit: Red Wings sign Fabbri to three-year, $12 million contract.

Boston: Frederic – ‘We should have done more’ to protect Bruins captain.

Pittsburgh: Kris Letang wants to play until he’s…45?

Washington: Backstrom talks recovery, return to Capitals – ‘Skating by yourself actually sucks.’

Florida: Daily Fantasy Hockey Lineup of the Day.

Colorado: Get back JoJo – Jonas Johansson claimed off waivers by Florida Panthers.

Vegas: Golden Knights’ Pietrangelo skeptical on attending 2022 Winter Olympics.

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