So now that the Maple Leafs have settled into the fifth overall selection (barring any major surprises from the draft lottery), the draft picture becomes a little bit clearer and the list of draft candidates becomes a little narrower. Today, let's talk about Everett Silvertips' captain Ryan Murray, a tremendously skilled defenseman earning comparisons to the likes of Scott Niedermayer.
The Basics: All-around defenseman with top notch mobility for the Everett Silvertips; 31 points in 46 games played.
Strengths: It's not easy living up to a comparison to a Hall of Fame calibre player, but Ryan's doing a pretty good job so far. His resume speaks for itself. Murray was the Canadian captain for the gold medal winning U18 Ivan Hlinka tournament team and was also named the Silvertips' captain at the tender age of 17. He is an absolute horse on the Everett blueline, touching a ridiculous 30+ minutes/game and is a difference maker at both ends of the ice. Red Line Report commended Murray on his superb defensive play, describing him as virtually "flawless positionally". The offensive statistics a bit misleading due to a weak team, but Murray possesses high level poise, vision and rushing ability. He's mature beyond his years, has all the tools to become a future captain and is likely ready to step onto an NHL blueline next season. [more…]
It's that time of year again... when the bitterness of another bottom five standing turns into optimism towards a potential top five draft pick. Maple Leaf hockey in March. Gotta love it. Let's start off this year's MLHS Draft Profile Series with centre Brendan Gaunce of the Belleville Bulls. He's one of those classic Canadian born, OHL trained two-way centres. Brendan's well-rounded skillset projects him anywhere between 6th and 12th on draft day.
The Basics: Classic two-way centre for the Belleville Bulls; 27 goals and 37 assists for 64 points in 63 games played. [more…]
The Maple Leafs wrapped up a busy two days in St. Paul, Minnesota, adding a total of nine young draftees to the organization, eight of whom boast Canadian or American passports. With the nine selections, the Leafs targeted four forwards, four defensemen and a goaltender. While this year's crop likely won't yield much star power, the multitude of draft picks should help bolster organizational depth and provide at least a couple valuable contributors in a few years time.
A big (6'2, 205lb) technical goaltender for the Allaire System, Sparks played 19 games this past season for the Guelph Storm. Posting a .890 Save [more…]
Cameranesi is a 5'9", 160 lbsÂ center from Minnesota High School. This is what www.mnhockeyprospects.com had to say about [more…]
With their first pick of the day in the third round, the Leafs grabbed someone out of [more…]
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. [more…]
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. [more…]
>> Leafs acquire John Michael Liles in return for 2012 2nd round pick
MLHS 2011 Draft Coverage [more…]
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.
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:Â 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. [more…]
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 wasnâ€™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 youâ€™ve got to wonder about the logic behind it. Blowing up the team? Sure, if that team didnâ€™t have the potential to be a perennial contender and hadnâ€™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? [more…]