UPDATE (2:38) – The Toronto Maple Leafs add Rick Dudley to the ever-growing management team. No official title yet, but Burke is calling him a “premier talent evaluator.”
It’s the day Leafs Nation has been waiting for since the Leafs season ended April 9th. A lot of crazy stuff happened yesterday and while we certainly hope Burke doesn’t go all Holmgren on us, a big deal is on everyoneâ€™s mind. Our GM only added fuel to the fire when he announced that he would be prepared to move the picks for an immediate (prime) help at centre.
One name thatâ€™s on everyoneâ€™s lips is Paul Stastny. While I do think he might be the best remaining fit out of all the names mentioned, any deal with the Avalanche is far from being verified, legit or even credible at this stage. Letâ€™s shift our focus on the draft, an event thatâ€™s surely going to happen.
In a draft such as this, where there is a crop of good players later on and where the gap between the 15th and 25th pick isnâ€™t that substantial, the later picks in the first round have more value when they represent a potential player than when that player is actually picked. Why? In a draft like this, draft teams like to target a specific player whom they see as a steal of that round of the draft. If that player gets taken prior to their pick they are forced to take another player from that list, one thatâ€™s that has similar value to their pick, but not necessarily of the same preferred skillset. While there still is a chance to draft â€œtheirâ€ kid – the one â€œhiding under the radarâ€ – theyâ€™ll pay more for a chance to draft that player.
This is exactly why I donâ€™t see Burke using both of our current first round picks in the draft. I see him trading up to get that certain player he’s targeting, especially since this draft offers no shortage of Burke-type players (not to mention acquiring that top line center via trade using one or both picks). That said, with the mercurial nature of draft floor dealings (as seen in the behind the draft videos, trades materialize and fall apart by the second), one has to be prepared for the possibility of nothing coming together, much like the 2009 draft when Burke swallowed his disappointment and picked his best player available at #7.
Some prospect profile videos for your persual; we could see one or more of these gentlemen put on the Blue and White tonight.
MATT PUEMPEL â€“ Peterborough Petes, LW
TYLER BIGGS â€“ USA U-18, RW
BOONE JENNER â€“ Oshawa Generals, C
NICKLAS JENSEN â€“ Oshawa Generals, LW/RW
SCOTT MAYFIELD â€“ Youngstown Phantoms, D