On Thursday, the Toronto Maple Leafs announced that they had signed Kamloops Blazers forward Fraser Minten to a three-year entry-level contract. As Maple Leafs’ fans will recall, general manager Kyle Dubas traded down to choose Minten as the 38th overall pick in the 2022 NHL Entry Draft.
Apparently, the choice was a good one in the organization’s mind. When he was drafted, the 18-year-old Minten seemed to be on only a few fans’ radars. He had scored 20 goals and 55 points in 67 games with Kamloops and then added 16 points (including six goals) in 17 playoff games. However, he was ignored at the draft until the Maple Leafs stepped up.
Since Coming to Toronto’s Camps, Minten Has Impressed
In Minten, the organization picked up a player who seems to be talented but raw. At the time, he reminded some Maple Leafs’ fans (me) of an Ilya Mikheyev-type. Minten does not have the speed that Mikheyev did, at least right now, but he’s seen to have potential.
During the several camps the Maple Leafs invited him to attend, Minten did nothing but impress. Surprising so. In fact, when the Vancouver, British Columbia, native started his first NHL preseason game against the Ottawa Senators on September 24, he was a plus-4 in only 11:17 minutes of ice time. He was part of the Maple Leafs’ 4-1 win.
What Do We Know about Minten’s History as a Player?
Minten’s reputation is that he has a high hockey IQ, which allows him to make smart plays in all three zones. (He’s even quite an accomplished piano player.)
We also know that Minten plays a 200-foot game. His two-way skills make him a strong special teams prospect (both on the power play and the penalty kill). We also know that he’s shown himself to be defensively reliable and able to force the other team’s players into making costly turnovers.
Although Minten won’t be ready for the NHL any time soon, he’ll use his time returning to Kamloops to work on areas he needs to improve. He needs experience and time to practice the skills he lacks over and over. Currently, Minten is looking to become a middle-six NHL player who could excel on special teams.
Minten Will Remain Out of Action for a While Yet
Minten is nursing a wrist injury that will keep him out of the Blazers’ lineup for a while yet. When he’s healed and rehabbed, he’ll return to Kamloops of the WHL. From there, who knows? The Maple Leafs could use another David Kampf on its roster one day.
What we do know is that signing him to a three-year ELC only proves that the Maple Leafs’ organization is happy with what they have in the young prospect.
Now it’s up to the Maple Leafs’ development system to create a personal program for Minten so he can mature his skills with hard work. Welcome to the organization Fraser Minten.