With the Toronto Maple Leafs’ season now officially over thanks to a Game 7 defeat in their first round series agains tthe rival Boston Bruins, the Leafs’ offseason gameplan is in full effect. This means that decisions on pending unrestricted free agents like James van Riemsdyk, Tyler Bozak, Leo Komarov, Tomas Plekanec and Dominic Moore will need to be made, but it also that the team has an opportunity to welcome so newer, younger players into the lineup as well.
Up until just yesterday, it was expected that former 2nd round pick (31st overall in 2016) Yegor Korshkov would be one of those newer, younger players available to the Leafs in 2018-19. However, according to a Russian language report out of the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL), Korshkov has elected to sign a one year agreement with Lokomotiv Yaroslavl, effectively changing his mind on an agreement with the Leafs and turning his back on the NHL.
Ouch. That hurts. The 21 year old winger was seen by some people in the Leafs organizaiton as a potential replacement for JVR, should the latter elect to test free agency. The 6’4”, 180 pound Korshkov was a standout at the 2016 IIHF World Junior Championships, where he lead his Russian squad to a silver medal, claiming the team’s scoring title in the process. Korshkov managed eight goals and 26 points in 54 games with Lokomotiv this past season.
What this latest development means for Korshkov's NHL future is anyone's guess, but with positions to be filled with the absences of JVR, Komarov, Bozak, Plekanec Moore and potentially others like Matt Martin and Josh Leivo this upcoming offseason, it's very possible that Korshkov is turning his back on his best opportunity to play with the Leafs. Other young players like Kasperi Kapanen, Andreas Johnsson and Carl Grundstrom will all be pushing for positions in training camp and its expected that the Leafs will have at least two or three rookies in the fold once again next season. There was a huge opportunity for Korshkov to come into camp and make the team in a 3rd or 4th line checking role, but it appears as though he's elected to delay his North American debut by at least one more season. Potentially longer? Time will tell.