As initially rumoured back on July 22nd, Leafs fourth round pick in 2014 JJ Piccinich is withdrawing from Boston University to play for the London Knights next season. The Knights originally drafted Piccinich in the sixth round of the OHL draft in 2012.

Despite the Terriers’ team success, Piccinich struggled at Boston University last season with a limited role in terms of ice time and offensive opportunity, and ultimately little in the way of production (four points in 25 games). As a 17 year old in the USHL, Piccinich scored 27 goals and 58 points in 60 games for Youngstown (interesting note: now-Solar Bears coach Anthony Noreen coached him for his two seasons with the Phantoms).

JJ Piccinich should get more opportunities in a scoring role with the Knights, and the Leafs will have influence over his situation with the Hunters owning the Knights. While last year was definitely a setback, the goal for Piccinich will be to play his way into a pro contract after a couple good seasons in London, where he’ll be more in the spotlight and play a lot more hockey games.

Canada vs. Russia Game #2 – World Junior Summer Showcase

Mitch Marner won’t play tonight — he may tomorrow versus the Czechs — but Travis Dermott will in the second game versus Russia tonight at 10 p.m. EST (TSN2).

Wednesday Links:

  • Norman James: Dale Hunter discusses Mitch Marner, J.J. Piccinich’s commitment to London (Audio + Transcript)
    It’s no hard feelings. It’s whatever the best development [is] at that time for different kids. For JJ, it was best for his development to come here to London and play a lot of games and get noticed and get a contract.
  • Aaron Vickers: Marner wows for Canada in exhibition win vs. Russia (
    “He’s a world-class player and he’s a highly skilled individual,” Lowry said. “He was fun for us to watch. It’s the first time we’ve had eyes on him live and in a game. He performed exceptionally. I thought he was outstanding. There’s a reason why Toronto drafted him when they did. He’s an exceptional player. It was nice to see it live.”
  • MLHS: Rob Vollman on TSN Radio talking Leafs, Hockey Abstract & More (TSN1050)
    In Detroit, rather than use Datsyuk and Zetterberg – who are absolutely amazing on the penalty kill – Babcock actually used more his depth players, like Darren Helm and so on, in order to save Datsyuk and Zetterberg for even-strength and the powerplay. Applying that same principle to the Leafs, it’s possible he might try to find more advantageous situations for Dion Phaneuf and let someone else carry more of the defensive burden.
  • Jonathan Willis: Why the Maple Leafs screwed up with Bernier (Sportsnet)
    It’s a good contract for the team, but it certainly isn’t a great one and arguably isn’t even an optimal one. Based on the terms Bernier eventually accepted, the Leafs had an opportunity here to secure a quality starter over the long haul at a reasonable price-point.
  • Rob Longley: JVR will miss Kessel but likes Leafs changes (Toronto Sun)
    “They’re making the commitment and that starts up top with ownership. They’re making a commitment to different things to really make sure there is no excuse if you put the work in.”
  • Kevin McGran: Leafs new goalie guru has a plan (Toronto Star)
    “I happened to coach a couple of NHL prospects this year. I spoke with (Leaf scout) Garth Malarchuk during the season. It turned out the majority of prospects they were looking at were all goalies I’d worked with. Then Garth asked me: ‘How do you have all these NHL prospects?’ And I explained the process of how I coach goaltenders. He said it was really good and I should talk to the Leafs about being the goalie coach. I passed my information on to Garth, he passed it on to Kyle.Then I met with Mike Babcock, interviewed with him in Toronto and the rest is history.”
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