The Leafs have an abundance of young forward talent, but that hasn’t stopped rumours that Vladimir Tkachyov is attracting interest from the team.
Left winger Tkachyov currently plays for Admiral Vladivostok of the KHL, and has impressed during his rookie season with the team.
In 45 regular season games, Tkachyov has 14 goals and 39 total points – placing him second on the team for total points scored.
He has also earned recognition for his play as a rookie, being named the KHL Rookie of the Month in both September and December, whilst also receiving three Rookie of the Week nods across this season.
The compelling part with him, though, is according to Aivis Kalniņš, a KHL insider, the Leafs are among a number of teams, including the Winnipeg Jets and Chicago Blackhawks, reportedly interested in the high-scoring winger:
The interest from the Leafs may be somewhat surprising, with the team having so many young wingers that can’t break into the NHL team’s roster — with the likes of Brendan Leipsic and Kasperi Kapanen playing well in the AHL, but without much attention from up-high.
Timashov played alongside the Russian winger during the 2014-15 QMJHL season, when both lined up for the Quebec Remparts.
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The Swedish Junior international dazzled the league that season, earning 19 goals and 90 total points, leading to him being drafted in the fifth round by the Leafs.
Tkachyov, however, was a point-per-game player for the team and picked up 12 goals and 33 total points in 33 games played after being traded from the Moncton Wildcats.
The NHL has seen a recent influx of Russian players come over and perform to a high level, with the likes of last season’s Calder Trophy winner Artemi Panarin, Nikita Zaitsev and the returning Alex Radulov all playing key roles for their new teams after leaving the KHL.
Tkachyov, however, may find it difficult to push himself into the Leafs’ team early on with so many young, talented wingers already vying for a spot. But, in the long-term, the 21-year-old could develop into an intriguing, scoring winger.
Having as many of those as possible could make him a valuable asset to the Leafs, who are already looking to push for a playoff spot this season.
What do you think of the Toronto Maple Leafs’ reported interest in Tkachyov? Would you rather the team looked for more defensive help? Let us know in the comments below.