With their first pick of the day in the third round, the Leafs grabbed someone out of left field as far as the rankings go in Josh Leivo. The 6’1, 180 pound winger out of Sudbury went unlisted on the Central Scouting’s rankings, but was the subject of interest for multiple NHL teams in the lead up to the draft after he stepped on the gas production-wise towards the end of the season and in the playoffs. Buzzing the Net had a story on Leivo’s “breakout” playoff campaign as a rookie, when he became one of head coach Trent Cull’s top line players. The Leafs will hope his performance towards the end of the year is a sign of things to come for next season with Sudbury.
Leivo, the Wolves’ 11thround pick in the 2009 OHL Priority Selection, is coming off a breakout rookie campaign.
After scoring two goals in his first 30 games, the Innisfil native tallied 11 markers in his next 34 starts.
But his real coming-out party was during the post-season, when, playing on the first line with centre Michael Sgarbossa and right-winger Andrey Kuchin, he scored six goals and assisted on seven others.
He helped the Pack upset the favoured Ottawa 67′s in the first round, before falling to the mighty Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors in the second.
Leivo wasn’t listed by NHL Central Scouting on its final rankings, released in April, but it’s clear the 6-foot-2, 188- pound forward is on the radar of several big-league clubs ahead of the seven-round draft, which runs today and Saturday in St. Paul, Minn.
He said he has been contacted by Boston, Tampa Bay, Phoenix, San Jose, Toronto, St. Louis and Buffalo. Among the personality traits Leivo showed during his rookie season was dogged de t e rmina – tion, particularly on the forecheck.
The Leafs then dipped their hand into their frequented pool of Swedish defence prospects with the selection of 6’1, 173 pound Tom Nilsson of MoDo Jr. Nilsson is a late ’93 kid who doesn’t turn 18 until August, so he’ll have even more developing to do than your typical fourth round pick. Described as very physical, Nilsson (like Leivo) put himself into the draft discussion with strong end-of-year play:
Sometimes overlooked when thrown in with Sweden’s other impressive
defenders, Nilsson can sometimes be the most dangerous weapon they have.
Nilsson can flat out hit and he loves to do it. His physical play
during the U18 tournament was impressive to say the least and changed
the momentum in his team’s favor on several occasions. A part from his
deceivingly good physical play, Nilsson is fairly well rounded and can
be counted on to do what is asked of him. His skating can still improve
but overall Nilsson is a player who really thrust himself into the draft
discussion with his end of year play.”