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Brampton Battalion

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Matt Fratin, seen here hosting McNaughton Cup (WCHA Regular Season Title) is a breakout candidate for 2010-2011

At this time last year, Jerry D’Amigo was a little known Maple Leafs’ draftee who had been passed over 157 times by other clubs only a few months before. After a banner year at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in the NCAA and a brilliant run at the World Juniors, the not even 20 year old D’Amigo currently finds himself with an NHL contract, an invite to training camp, and a legitimate shot at making his dreams come true as soon as this fall. That was last year. Now let’s take a look at some of the names that could be making some serious headway up the Leafs’ organizational depth charts in 2010-2011.

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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.

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    The year was 2005.  George W. Bush was still in office (yes, somehow Americans voted for him, twice), Hurricane Katrina was doing catastrophic damage to New Orleans, and the vatican was naming a new pope after the passing of John Paul II.

    In the sports world, the New England Patrios would win yet another Super Bowl, this time against the Eagles, the Washington Nationals would begin operation as Major League Baseball’s newest team, Danica Patrick became the first woman to lead a lap at the Indy 500, and the Chicago White Sox ended a lengthy championship drought, winning the world series in four straight over the Houston Astros.

    Oh, and there was this one other thing too.  NO HOCKEY.

    Embattled in a bitter labour dispute, the NHL shut down operations for an entire year in search of cost certainty, something they would eventually get, although the opinion on whether the design is flawed or not is still out to be deliberated.

    For fans of the NHL, the June 2005 entry draft was more than just a weekend in June in which young players would be drafted, making their way into the beginning of their National Hockey League careers.  It was a new beginning for the world of the NHL.  A new season was about to kick off in earnest.

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      The ability to select future stars or even useful role players in the mid-late rounds is what separates the pretenders from the contenders. The class of the NHL when it comes to late round drafting are the Detroit Red Wings, with players like Helm (5th), Franzen (3rd), Filppula (2nd), Hudler (3rd), Ericsson (9th), Zetterberg (7th) and Datsyuk (6th) all playing key roles on a Stanley Cup Finalist team. As E.J. Mcguire alluded to in the previous chapter of Draft Watch ’09, there will be plenty of potential impact players available beyond the first round of this year’s entry draft. Let’s take a look at some of the names:

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        Add International Scouting Services to the list of scouting organizations that are starting to put together the Matt Duchene bandwagon. In their latest rankings, following a the shocker from Redline report, ISS has followed suit and finally shuffled the top 2 of the draft. Unlike Redline, Tavares remains at #1, but ISS now has Duchene at #2 and Hedman at #3. Looks like the “Big Two” just became the “Big Three”.

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          At a time when the John Tavares – Victor Hedman debate seemed to be reaching it’s lowest ebb, with the New York Islanders, confirmed as the winners of the first-overall-pick sweepstakes by last week’s draft lottery, seemingly cocksure takers on the London Knight, the Redline Report has stoked the embers. According to News Day.com, the Red Line Report, a highly-respected independent scouting service run by former Nashville Predators scout Kyle Woodlief (link), has bumped JT down to the third rank in their latest installment of standings, behind Victor Hedman and Brampton Battalion speedster Matt Duchene.

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            There’s the notion that signing Christian Hanson and Tyler Bozak and other College Free Agents allows the Buds to trade off other picks, perhaps even to move up in the draft.

            The justification is having signed these free agent Collegians fills roster spots allowing them to maneuver around the draft, possibly even moving up to land a Hedman or Tavares at the number one or two spot.

            (My take is forgetting either of them and draft Brampton Battalion forward, Matt Duchene, but that’s a blog for another day.)

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              Thanks to the lack of high end technology (No PVR damnit!) at home, I was faced with a tough decision tonight: CHL Top Prospects Skills Competition or Leafs vs. Preds. Sadly, I chose the Leaf game. Pretty much a low chance, slow pace snoozer from the get-go so I eventually started flipping back and forth to catch glimpses of the NHL’s next crop of exciting young stars showing off their various talents. Little metaphor there I suppose?

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                International Scouting Services recently released their November rankings for the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, which can be viewed here: http://www.hockeysfuture.com/articles/10697/iss_top302009_prospects_november/