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Saskatoon

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Leaf prospect Josh Nicholl’s 2010-2011 season had gotten off to such a promising start. Currently tied for 6th overall in WHL scoring with 5 goals and 5 assists for 10 points in 6 games played, the Maple Leafs’ 2010 7th round pick seemed on his way to a potential D’Amigo style breakout campaign. Playing on the Blades’ top line with Marek Viedensky and Curtis Hamilton, everything seemed to be clicking for the youngster. However, on Wednesday night, a poor decision from Tri-City Americans forward Brendan Shinnimin could prove to be a serious setback to Josh’s progress.

Late in the third period with Saskatoon up 5-3 thanks to a 3 point effort from Nicholls, the young forward was chasing down a puck in the offensive zone when he received cross-check from Shinnimin to his lower back, which caused Nicholls to be flung forward viciously headfirst into the end boards. Thankfully, Josh had turned his head to the side a split second earlier to follow the trajectory of a teammate’s pass or he might’ve suffered a much more severe injury. As it stands, the Blades have Nicholls listed as out at least a week with a concussion, though as we’ve seen on many an occasion in hockey, the recovery timeline for these kind of injuries can be very hard to predict. Shinnimin received a 5 minute boarding major and a game misconduct on the play.

To view the hit, click here.

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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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For those of you who missed it, the Leafs were very active on Day 2 of the draft, swung a couple trades, and ended up with the following players:

2nd round – 43rd overall – LW Brad Ross (Portland)

3rd round – 62nd overall – C Gregg McKegg (Erie)

3rd round – 79th overall – RW Sondre Olden (Modo Jr.)

4th round – 116th overall – D Petter Granberg (Skelleftea)

5th round – 144th overall – RW Sam Carrick (Brampton)

5th round – 146th overall – LW Daniel Brodin (Djugarden)

7th round – 182nd overall – C Josh Nicholls (Saskatoon)

*The Leafs traded forward prospect Jimmy Hayes to land the 43rd overall pick and traded a 2012 3rd round pick to land the 79th overall pick.

**The Leafs also acquired grinder Mike Brown from the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for a 2010 5th round pick, as well as Edmonton’s 5th round pick in 2011 in exchange for a 2010 7th round pick

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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.

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    Big thank you to Mark Seidel, Chief Scout of North American Central Scouting and contributor to The Hockey News, for taking the time to chat about the upcoming 2010 NHL Entry Draft. His agency’s latest rankings can be seen here on THN. This time around, Leaf fans won’t be having the opportunity of watching one of the draft’s elite youngsters, such as projected top pick Tyler Seguin or Taylor Hall, fall into their lap. But nonetheless, the draft is always a hot topic in the hockey world.

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      Rewind a year to Ottawa, when interim GM Cliff Fletcher was preparing to make his last great splash. Trading up to secure hard hitting blueliner Luke Schenn, a player unto which the Leafs hoped to bank their revival, set in motion a summer of upheaval paving the way for Brian Burke to step in mid-season. For many the draft of 2008 marked an era of realization, that change was required and perhaps finally the Leafs were going to commit to a full scale rebuild based on the youth model in Pittsburgh.

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        With Files from Gil Brown

        Brian Burke doesn’t take credit for the Maple Leafs drafting Luke Schenn 5th overall in 2008, but he’s sure glad they did.  Under different circumstances, which we’ll get into over a series of posts, Burke’s Ducks would have been in the mix for the Saskatoon native at the 2008 draft.

        Fortune shined on the blue and white allowing them to trade up to 5th overall pick.  There was an associated cost from their original seventh spot, but the end result is a potential future Maple Leafs captain of the Scott Stevens mold.

        Unbelievable as it seems; perhaps, even laughable, Schenn, could have been wearing Ducks colors.

        The story doesn’t begin in Anaheim, however.  It starts in Edmonton.