Maple Leafs prospect diagnosed with brain tumor

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Rodion Amirov, a 20-year-old prospect in the Toronto Maple Leafs‘ system, has been diagnosed with a brain tumor.

The Maple Leafs announced Amirov’s condition Wednesday morning.

“I regret to inform our fans that Rodion Amirov has been diagnosed with a brain tumour,” general manager Kyle Dubas said in a statement. “Rodion commenced the 2021-22 season with Salavat Ufa of the KHL but suffered an injury to open the season. During the course of his recovery from this injury, he developed some new, unrelated symptoms that required ongoing extensive investigations over the last few months

“Rodion is currently undergoing treatment at a medical facility in Germany and will not return to play for the remainder of the season. Our medical staff has been involved throughout the process alongside Ufa’s and we are in direct contact with the facility on an ongoing basis to monitor his treatment and care. Rodion has the complete support of the Toronto Maple Leafs organization and we will continue to ensure he receives the best care possible through this process.”

Toronto selected Amirov with the 15th overall pick in the 2020 NHL draft. A highly skilled, speedy winger, Amirov had a successful first season after that with Ufa Salivat Yulayev, averaging 13:54 of ice time with nine goals and 13 points in 39 games while still just a teenager.

Toronto signed Amirov to a three-year entry-level contract last April. With his KHL campaign completed, Amirov joined the Leafs’ taxi squad last spring to work with the club’s development staff on his overall game before returning to Russia for another year.

Amirov again looked poised to compete when he spent all of the last preseason skating on Ufa’s top line. He was injured though right before the regular season began, and missed the team’s first eight games. By September 23, Amirov was back in the lineup, but went quickly to the sidelines with another injury.

Ufa coach Tomi Lamsa was non-specific about what ailment Amirov was dealing with, and he wouldn’t appear in another game for nearly two months. In November, Amirov was assigned to Ufa’s minor league team, Toros Neftekamsk of the VHL, for a three-game spell before returning to the KHL on Dec. 6.

Amirov still was barely seeing the ice. He logged just two shifts in that first game back, and then was a healthy scratch in the following contest.

Lamsa tried to justify Amirov’s lack of ice time as simply a situational quirk, the product of a penalty-filled game. But sitting him entirely the next game just didn’t jive with what Lamsa had previously said about wanting to give Amirov “the chance to play more offensive roles” and that his intention was to have Amirov in a first- or second-line position “if he can reach the level that I expect.”

Amirov eventually worked his way back up to playing close to 10 minutes per game, before a positive COVID-19 test derailed that progress too. He last played in late December.

Source: ESPN NHL

    

Author: Ellen Garcia