With a little more than a month remaining before the NHL Entry Draft, discussing possible picks and trade-up scenarios are again becoming commonplace in the hockey world. I really feel no need to mention once again that the Leafs hold two late first-round picks, but I just did.
Of course there are plenty of options Burke and his staff can look at with the picks. Whether itâ€™s a substantial move up the ladder, or simply a quick jostle to a few spots up, the range of prospects in the Leafsâ€™ playing field is obviously quite broad.
Today weâ€™ll just take a quick gander at a few more players â€“ both domestic and international – that could land around Torontoâ€™s draft position, and could possibly become future Leafs.
Up first; Boone Jenner (6’1″ – 195lb)
While initially it seemed unlikely that Jenner would fall as low as the Leafs would like,Â that probably isn’t the case. But there are still someÂ who have this him somewhere in the top 20.
The word on this guy, as youâ€™ve probably already read, is that he has good size and plays a complete game. Foot speed has been a question mark in the past, but as Dan Sallows points out, he has made improvements in that area, and likes to model his game after Jarome Iginla.
Will he fall far enough for the Leafs to grab him? Maybe not, but weâ€™re not sure whatâ€™s going to happen on Draft Day, and Jenner seems to be the type of player the team would want. What team wouldnâ€™t?
Jenner notched 66 points in 63 games played this past season for the Oshawa Generals, adding another 12 points in ten playoff games. He is ranked 18th amongst domestic skaters in the final Central Scouting rankings.
Next; Joel Edmundson (6’4″ – 200lb)
A defenseman? Really? Thereâ€™s no way the Leafs would waste a pick on another blueliner when theyâ€™re so bare up front.
When drafting a player whoâ€™s born in 1993, especially a defenseman, it isnâ€™t exactly like youâ€™re planning on this guy turning into Chris Pronger next season. By the time a player in this draft lands in a Leaf uniform full-time, the team could have already made a Cup run with a lot of new personnel. This guy could be traded six times before Greg McKegg ever makes his Leafs debut. Itâ€™s extremely tough to put a timeline on any of this, so drafting the best player at the time is the golden rule it seems.
Slotted #33 by theÂ Central Scouting Final Rankings for domestic players (#69 at Midterm rankings), Edmundson could be around later in the draft, so perhaps Burke and others will hold off and take a look in round two.
Edmundson tallied 20 points this past season with the Moose Jaw Warriors, with 95 penalty minutes in 71 games played.
Joachim Nermark (6’1″ – 190lb)
Ranked #8 by Central Scouting in their final rankings for international players, Nermark is somewhat of an internet myth. Why? Because there isnâ€™t a large amount of solid information on this guy.Â Iâ€™d love to tell you all that I personally flew overseas to see this kid so I could make my own scouting assessment, but (A) Iâ€™m poor and (B) I donâ€™t own a jetâ€¦ yet.
Hereâ€™s what we do know; Nermark is a 6â€™1â€ center who nabbed 26 points in 37 games played with Linkopings HC of the J20 SuperElit League in Sweden. He also took home the honor of top scorer at last summerâ€™s Ivan Hlinka Under-18 Tournament. For an interview with Nermark from earlier this season, check out the Copper & Blue.
“My biggest strengths are my hockey sense, my skating. Even when I’m not on my game, I feel that I play well. I thrive on responsibility.”
And finally, though many will write off Rocco Grimaldi (5’6″ – 160lb) as absolutely impossible, I’m not sure that should be the case.
Now, I’m all for drafting big players with a physical edge. But after watching players like Brian Gionta and Martin St. Louis burn teams over and over (including the Leafs),Â it seems ignorant to continue to discredit players due to their size.
Grimaldi is a good offensive producer in the USHL (25 points in 23 games) and will likely fall right around where the Leafs are drafting, perhaps lower.
Maybe Burke won’t bother giving him a chance, but that isn’t to say he shouldn’t.
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