Having been called into pinch-hit for the morning mashup, I figured this would be a good time to include some other draft thoughts that I didn’t write in my review mainly due to the fact that I didn’t think there was enough room to add these tidbits. Anyways, here’s some draft “bonus points” before we get to your morning links:
- I didn’t touch on Viktor Loov simply because I don’t know anything about him. He was selected primarily due to the recommendation from the Leafs head European scout Thommie Bergman. Bergman has been with the Leafs since before the JFJ and Quinn eras and is the guy you credit when it comes to the drafting of players like Carl Gunnarsson, Viktor Stalberg, Staffan Kronwall and Anton Stralman (who were all chosen relatively late). You could also look at him when it comes to the selection of players such as Daniel Brodin and Sondre Olden, both of whom just went unsigned by the Leafs. Since Bergman has found some solid players in a low percentage segment of the draft, I think the pick is worth paying attention to. He also drafted Petter Granberg, who signed his ELC from the Leafs this year.
- On that note, I find it interesting of all the mistakes that fans look at when it comes to Brian Burke, two very recent ones haven’t been discussed at all. The first is the Leafs not having a third round pick this year. The reason? They traded their third rounder from this year two years ago to select Sondre Olden in the third round of the 2010 draft. When the Leafs didn’t give Olden a contract this year, thus releasing him from the organization in any and all capacities, they essentially wasted two draft picks. The selection of Olden at the time raised a lot of eyebrows because he was a virtual unknown from Norway. Now, this year the Leafs had to sit through the third round because they made what was always looked at as a questionable move and wasted two assets doing so.
- The other mistake? Mitchell Heard. Some of you may remember the name from the Leafs prospect tournament last year where he played very well and distinguished himself as a camp invite. The Leafs were not able to sign him due to a lack of contract space (in part because they gave David Broll a contract even though they drafted him) and he re-entered the draft one year later. Well, he just went to the Colorado Avalanche in the second round. The lack of center depth in the organization is well known and the Leafs had a six foot center who chips in offense and is a willing fighter and battler, and they let him get away. Hindsight being what it is, that could have been a free second round pick.
- Those are small things, but mistakes like that bother me.
- One actual Leaf prospect who just re-entered the draft is Josh Nicholls, and it is worth noting he went undrafted.
- I quoted a scout on the Leafs high school selection this year, Dominic Toninato, in my previous piece but here’s a little more that the scout told me afterward:
“While I think there is some stuff to work with in terms of getting something out of Toninato, I just flat out failed to see what some thought was the best MNHS kid this year. His skating lacks explosion, and he lacks another gear- while he does a good job of keeping his feet moving, his sense of pace isn’t all that great, so he’s moving at that one gear all of the time, making him look out of control- literally at times he was a bull in a china shop.”
- Maybe the weirdest moment of draft weekend was Toninato saying how he doesn’t know much about the Leafs. How does a kid who’s good enough at hockey to actually get drafted into the NHL not know much about the Leafs? Sure he’s American, but he’s from Minnesota which is a great hockey town. It weirds me out that he said that.
- On an uplifting note, it’s going to be fun to have some Leaf prospects back on team Canada this year. Rielly has represented Canada well before and unless he gets hurt again he should be donning the red and white come Christmas time. Matt Finn should at the very least get a look and don’t rule out Stuart Percy either (in fact, Percy probably has a better chance at making the team considering he is older).
- Tyler Biggs is another player that should be in the tournament next year. He was inexplicably not on the roster last season and USA was terrible. Would Biggs have made a difference? I don’t know. But it goes to show how bad USA was in their entirety last season.
- By the way, for those who don’t know, Biggs is going to the OHL next year. I’ve been told that Oshawa (the team who owns his rights at the moment) are looking to rebuild thus he will probably be traded. Apparently London (obviously) and Windsor are both interested. Either organization would be a great environment for Biggs to learn in.
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