Former NHL First-Round Pick Rodion Amirov Dies At 21

(Photo by VESA MOILANEN/Lehtikuva/AFP via Getty Images)

Andrew Powell Sports and Entertainment Blogger
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Rodion Amirov, a prospect for the Toronto Maple Leafs, has passed away after being diagnosed with a brain tumor last year. He was 21 years old.

Amirov died Monday in Munich, Germany, where he was receiving treatment. The news was confirmed by the Maple Leafs, who honored Amirov with a tribute on Scotiabank Arena’s outdoor video board.

“The entire Maple Leafs organization is devastated by this tragic loss,” Toronto president Brendan Shanahan said in a statement. “Over the duration of his courageous battle, Rodion’s positivity inspired everyone around him, and he made lasting impressions with our team and fans in his brief visits to Toronto.”

In April 2021, Amirov signed with the Maple Leafs on a three-year entry-level deal after being the No. 15 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft.

In three Kontinental Hockey League seasons (70 games), Amirov tallied 10 goals and eight assists for hometown Salavat Yulaev. In the 2021 men’s world junior hockey championship representing Russia, he scored two goals and racked up four assists.

Back in May, the Maple Leafs agreed on a one-year loan for Amirov, which allowed him to extend his contract with Salavat Yulaev through the 2023-24 season and play another campaign in Russia’s KHL.

Kyle Dubas, the former general manager for Toronto, announced in Feb. 2022 that Amirov was diagnosed with a brain tumor and receiving treatment. He ended up missing the entire 2022-23 season. (RELATED: 16-Year-Old Cheerleader Dies After Suffering Sudden Cardiac Arrest)

“The optimism and amazing outlook on life throughout Rodion’s battle were unwavering and incredible,” said Dubas, who is now the president of hockey operations and general manager for the Pittsburgh Penguins, in a statement. “Personally, I am so sad for the loss of such a wonderful young man with so much potential.”