Sheldon Keefe makes a pronouncement on Fraser Minten.
Alan Schwartz/CSM/Zuma  

Sheldon Keefe makes a pronouncement on Fraser Minten.

The head coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs shares his thoughts on the surprise of the preseason

Jonathan Larivee

At the start of the Toronto Maple Leafs training camp the name Fraser Minten was on very few radars. A second round pick (38th overall) at the 2022 NHL Entry Draft, Minten was not expected by most to have a big impact in camp, but that is exactly what he has done with his oppurtunity.

The 19 year old forward has been nothing short of dynamic for the Maple Leafs throughout the preseason and there have been some very real questions about whether or not he has done enough to warrant a spot on the team. Over the weekend those questions were answered when Maple Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe made it clear how he felt about the situation.

While it sounds like Minten might not get to start the season with the team, Keefe left no doubt that this would be as a result of salary cap and roster concerns rather than due to the fact that Minten hasn't earned the spot.

"Our situation, as you know, is complex," admitted Keefe on Saturday. "There’s a lot that goes into it. If there’s no roster limitations or anything like that or a salary cap, I think there’s no question that he’d remain here. And we’d give him an opportunity to get some regular season time and grow through that. But it’s not that easy a decision, it is complex. There’s a lot at play, some that I understand and some that I don't."

In spite of that Keefe made it clear that he was truly impressed by the performances he saw from both Minten and Maple Leafs first round pick Easton Cowan.

"Fraser Minten and Easton Cowan should be really proud of the camp that they've had and how they've made us have these discussions right to the very end," added Keefe.