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Photo Credit: USHL.com

Day 1 is done, and the Leafs have walked away with two prospects to add to a growing cupboard of young up-and-comers. Though that elusive number one centre has yet to be added via trade, talent has been added to the organization long term, and that’s never a bad thing.

What I enjoyed seeing last night; both kids in blue and white grew up members of Leafs Nation. Maybe, possibly, one or both might have read this site at one point. But that opportunity to bleed for the team you grew up idolizing is such a huge thing, and an attribute Burke clearly values, as both kids should push hard for opportunities over the next few years.

In Tyler Biggs, Burke brought in a player to play his smash mouth brand of hockey with some offensive upside. At 6’2 and 210 lbs, Biggs is physically mature and when combined with his long stride, mobile and balanced skating, Biggs is a hard kid to get off the puck. Physically, he hits like a train, and will leave a lot of damage in his path; he’s got fan favourite potential written all over him. There were some names on the draft board with more offensive upside and projection, but this is what one would expect of Burke with a late round pick; find someone that fits the tough-to-play-against team identity and has a good shot at contributing at the NHL level.


After much posturing and pondering, the Maple Leafs did indeed manage to pair two of their top three selections to move in the first round. With the 22nd overall pick, the club selected American power forward Tyler Biggs and followed that up with the selection of Memorial Cup standout defenseman Stuart Percy.


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 everyone’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 that’s on everyone’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. Let’s shift our focus on the draft, an event that’s surely going to happen.


It’s Draft Day folks! Passing along some draft notes for a few more of the names that figure to be in discussion for the Maple Leafs’ top three selections. Featured names include two-way blueliner Oscar Klefbom, power forward Joel Armia and powerplay quarterback Joe Morrow.

Oscar Klefbom (Defenseman)

Strengths: Excellent skating ability and upside as a two-way defenseman. Gives 110% every shift and plays with a considerable amount of physicality and grit. Solid positional instincts. Untapped offensive upside. A potential high end power play quarterback.

Weaknesses:  Very raw skillset. Physical tools are there but will take some development time and coaching to maximize upside. Average point shot but should improve as he grows into his body.


Click here for earlier comments (1,246) from today.

The Philadelphia Flyers traded top goal scorer Jeff Carter to the Columbus Blue Jackets for forward Jakub Voracek and the club’s first- and third-round picks. I guess that wasn’t enough for the Broad Street Bullies as they finished blowing up the team by dealing their captain, Mike Richards to the LA Kings in exchange for Brayden Schenn, Wayne Simmonds and a 2nd round pick. Then, the Flyers signed goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov, whose rights they acquired during this off season a third-round pick in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, forward Matt Clackson, and future considerations, to a nine year, 51 million dollar deal.

I know, right?

The Flyers got the best prospect in hockey, but you’ve got to wonder about the logic behind it. Blowing up the team? Sure, if that team didn’t have the potential to be a perennial contender and hadn’t made the Stanley Cup Finals in 2010. But they did. Not only that but if you planned to get rid of their cap hit/contracts, why sign a goalie to a nine year, 51 million dollar deal?


Not only our present, but our future will be shaped over the next two weeks. Both free agency and the NHL Entry Draft are quickly approaching, and the Leafs figure to be highly active at both.

The Maple Leafs, under General Manager, Brian Burke, have built a deep system of prospects which boasts the likes of Nazem Kadri, Joe Colborne and Jesse Blacker, to highlight a few. Most experts who have been consulted on the issue believe it to stack up anywhere between tenth and thirteenth in the National Hockey League as far as prospect stables go, and it should continue to grow this Friday.


A few days ago, we learned about the playmaking Portland Winterhawk forward Ty Rattie. Today, let’s talk about another very talented draft eligible player from that line: goal scoring machine Sven Bartschi. With goal scoring instincts and natural ability reminiscent of rookie phenom Jeff Skinner, Bartschi is quite arguably one of the best pure goal scorers of the draft class.



In the fourth installment of the MLHS 2011 Draft Profile series, we’re going to take a quick look at Portland Winterhawk winger Ty Rattie. Our very own Brian Huddle informs us that the Maple Leafs have been showing Rattie around the city, much like they did with Leaf draftee Greg McKegg last year, which may perhaps tip their hand. Rattie is a crafty and skilled winger with tremendous offensive upside but his small stature and average skating may push him back toward the latter third of the first round.


Swedish prospect Joachim Nermark

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 it’s a substantial move up the ladder, or simply a quick jostle to a few spots up, the range of prospects in the Leafs’ playing field is obviously quite broad.

Today we’ll just take a quick gander at a few more players – both domestic and international – that could land around Toronto’s draft position, and could possibly become future Leafs.


Prince Albert's Mark McNeill could be a target of Burke's in a trade up scenario. (Photo Credit: Raiderhockey.com)

NHL Prospect writer Brian Huddle of Hockeybuzz.com and FutureConsiderations.ca stops by MLHS to provide a look at what the Leafs’ future might hold:

The rebuild ‘officially’ began June 20th, 2008.

“The Toronto Maple Leafs are proud to select, with their first pick in this year’s draft, from the Kelowna Rockets – Luke Schenn.”

We’ve all heard those words, and likely relived that moment on Youtube. Mike Penny and his staff were all too happy to pick their future defensive stud. It was a moment that would tell the hockey world exactly what the Maple Leafs were going to be; big, tough and physical. No more pushing us over.


In the third installment of the MLHS 2011 Draft Profile series, we’re going to take a closer look at American winger Brandon Saad of the Saginaw Spirit. The enigmatic young forward of Syrian descent has seen his stock decline steadily over the past few months due to his inconsistent play and questionable compete level, but this is a player with an impressive physical skillset and tremendous offensive upside. Once billed as a potential top five selection back in September, Saad has disappointed with a mediocre rookie season in the OHL, but could provide a huge steal potential for a team willing to gamble on him toward the end of the first round.


In this second installment of the MLHS 2011 NHL Draft preview series, we’re going to take a closer look at Mark Scheifele, the Barrie Colts’ two-way centre who has seen his stock climb drastically over the past couple of months. Scouts describe him as one of those well-rounded, hard-nosed players who just love to compete night in and night out. Once viewed as a second tier prospect, Scheifele has silenced critics with a standout OHL season and now finds himself poised to be a Day One selection at this year’s draft.


Photo Credit: Go Petes Go.com

As part of our 2011 NHL Entry Draft coverage here at MLHS, I will be releasing a series of player profiles highlighting a handful of players who figure to be selected toward the middle-late first round or early second round. The Maple Leafs appear poised to select three times (Flyers’ 1st round pick, Bruins’ 1st round pick, Leafs’ 2nd round pick) within this range, though Burke has stated the possibility of combining two of those picks in an effort to move up. These profiles will provide a brief overview of the player’s strengths, weaknesses, and draft day outlook. Today, we’ll begin with Peterborough forward Matt Puempel.

The Basics: Talented goal scoring forward for the Peterborough Petes; 34 goals and 35 assists for 69 points in 55 games played.

According to numerous sources, including the Canadian Press, the Toronto Maple Leafs and prospect Jerry D’Amigo are expected to finalize a three year entry level deal sometime this week.  The move would see D’Amigo forfeit his NCAA eligibility and likely join the Kitchener Rangers of the Ontario Hockey League, who own his CHL rights.

D’Amigo, drafted in the sixth round of last year’s entry draft, has quickly rocketed to the top of the prospect depth chart over the past year.  He played an integral role in the USA’s World Junior upset over Canada this past January in Saskatchewan.


For Greg McKegg, nothing has necessarily come easy in his hockey career.  A slow start to his rookie campaign in Erie, followed by a knee injury which threatened the start of his season this past year, McKegg began the year as a winger for the Erie Otters that ISS ranked in the 90′s.

It was something that McKegg couldn’t not think about, no matter how much he tried.

“It’s something you try not to think about too much really, but you can’t help but look.  It was disappointing to see that for sure, but I think it gives you that edge to work harder and show people that you deserve to be higher up on the list.”

And that is exactly what he did.

Being described by some in the hockey circles as a perennial underdog, McKegg did the only thing he knew how to do.  Work hard.


It was a quiet Day One at the 2010 NHL Draft for the Maple Leafs, but the team stepped up its game in a big way on Saturday afternoon. The club wheeled and dealed its way into the 2nd round of the draft and through some crafty maneuvering in the later rounds, managed to add seven new players into the organization.

The Leafs were able to significantly upgrade their depth up front, by grabbing six forwards to go with one defenseman. Surprisingly, Leafs’ Swedish scout Thommie Bergman had a big day, selecting three players from the Swedish leagues.


Rough Friday night for Leaf fans, but that’s in the past now. Rounds 2-7 of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft kicks off today at 1pm ET on NHL Network. The Maple Leafs are slated pick once in the 3rd round (62nd), once in the 4th round (112th), twice in the 5th round (122nd and 144th) and twice in the 7th round (182nd and 202nd).

Rumors are circulating that the Leafs will attempt to trade into the 2nd round if the price is reasonable.

This live blog will be updated with thoughts and pick analysis throughout the afternoon.


It may seem uncharacteristic of  Brian Burke, historically a headline maker at the Entry Draft, to sit essentially idle on the hockey world’s biggest stage. Important to remember is that the big man can be patient when he needs to be. The Anaheim and Calgary deals of last February, when Burke waited until certain pressure points reached a head, were both examples of Burke’s willingness to sit back until the time was right to pull the trigger – despite all the temptations to hit the panic button as his team sat in the Eastern Conference basement with no first round pick to look forward to.


It’s around 2PM eastern time, meaning National Hockey League GM’s are likely getting ready to juggle their BlackBerry’s while getting set to sit down for lunch at a local Los Angeles hot spot.  With the many fantastic views and atmosphere, it may be the last relaxing moment of the day for these GM’s.

And most wouldn’t have it any other way.