Who Does Easton Cowan Replace On The Maple Leafs Next Season?

Toronto Maple Leafs' top prospect Easton Cowan not only surprised with an amazing season in the OHL in 2023-24, it is one the organization and fans aren't going to forget any time soon. This season has forced Cowan into the spotlight and on a fast track to the NHL.

Cowan was drafted 28th overall in 2023 and hasn't played a game for the Maple Leafs yet, but that's coming very soon. He was sent back to junior this season and recorded 34 goals and 96 points in 54 games before scoring 10 goals and 34 points in 18 playoff games. On top of that, Cowan potted three goals and eight points in four games in the Memorial Cup for the London Knights as well.

Now that he's 19 years old, Cowan can turn pro. Instead of spending next season in the AHL, there is a good chance that the rookie will play his season in the NHL if he impresses in training camp again. The Maple Leafs are going to be tight on cap space and need players on cheap or entry-level deals to step up and have an impact.

So if Cowan makes the Maple Leafs, who gets pushed out? This may start with the UFAs like Max Domi and Tyler Bertuzzi. There isn't a great chance both are re-signed and Cowan could be a strong option to fit into the top-9 for millions less for three years. Toronto really only needs the cap relief for 2024-25, but a couple of more years couldn't hurt on top of that.

With Cowan potentially jumping the line, it could reduce the opportunities given to younger players like Alex Steeves and Nick Abruzzese too. How effective will Ryan Reaves be at 37 years old and will Bobby McMann be able to replicate his performance from this season? I think Cowan can quickly be a contributor to the Maple Leafs like not too many others, even as a rookie. We will have to see in training camp, but there may be moves made during the offseason in anticipation of Cowan's arrival in the NHL.

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