Photo: Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
While I had begun to sour somewhat on Schenn’s potential last season, it was a little odd to wake up this morning and remember #2 was now a member of an organization not named the Toronto Maple Leafs. Schenn was celebrated as the first pillar of the Leafs’ rebuild when Cliff Fletcher drafted him in 2008. Many a fan bought his jersey. Some said we had future captain material in Luke. Few would’ve predicted Schenn would be with a new organization before he turned 23.
I’m not going to call Schenn’s rookie season a mirage, but it was somewhat of a tease. We heard Pierre McGuire call this guy a Human Eraser and we saw it with our own eyes when he stepped onto NHL ice as an 18-year-old and tossed a 245-pound Keith Tkachuk to the ice. What seems to have happened between the Schenn we knew then and the one Burke just traded was a combination of expectations heightening and his development traveling the trajectory of a more normal young defenceman, as opposed to the beyond-his-years beast we came to know him as in junior and very early on in his NHL career.
We’re now mere days away from the ever exciting NHL Entry Draft. One of the names that consistently shows up in that group of the top 3-4 players is 6’2 power forward Filip Forsberg. The 17 year old Swede is touted as the most complete player in the draft, offering a superb package of size, skill, defensive instincts and competitive spirit. It is unlikely that he will still be around by the 5th selection, but stranger things have happened. Any team selecting Forsberg as early as 2nd overall could find themselves with a tremendous bargain in two or three years time.
The Basics: All-around winger/center for Leksand, 8 goals and 9 assists for 17 points in 43 games played.
Photo: Yahoo Sports
With the discussion and speculation builiding up as draft day nears, one name that just won’t go away is Radek Faksa. The Maple Leafs are rumoured to be quite high on the powerful Kitchener Rangers’ forward and have scouted his games extensively. Faksa possesses many of the qualities currently lacking in the organization: the ability to play centre, defensive zone acumen, and size. His name will undoubtedly be linked to the Blue and WhiteÂ even at #5 overall.
The Basics: Two-way centreman for the Kitchener Rangers, 29 goals and 38 assists for 67 points in 62 games played
As the draft continues to draw nearer, the Mikhail Grigorenko story becomes more and more interesting. A player once believed to be a lock for the 2nd or 3rd spot in the draft is beginning to slide down the rankings, and is currently pegged anywhere from 4th to 20th. This opens up a scenario where a supremely talented, albeit inconsistent, 6â€™3 centre is on the board for the Maple Leafs at the fifth selection. What to doâ€¦ What to doâ€¦
The Basics: An elite offensive-minded centre, a high risk/reward type prospect; 40 goals and 45 assits for 85 points in 59 games played for the Quebec Remparts
After jumping 30 spots in the most recent International Scouting Service report, the 2012 MLHS Draft Profiles turns its watchful eye to Oshawa Generals centerman and Jack-of-all-trades, Scott Laughton.
Thereâ€™s a lot to like about Scott Laughton, who recorded 21 goals, 32 assists and 101 PIM in 64 games, skating mostly on a line with Christian Thomas (40th overall in 2010 by NYR) and Andy Andreoff (80th overall in 2011 by LAK).Â After starting the year slowly, Scott Laughton has developed into a reliable two-way force in the â€˜Shwa.
What Scott Laughton has that should separate him from the pack is will.Â Simply put, the guy works hard each night and was relied upon as a special teams cog over older, more established players on the Generals roster. He initiates contact, and is dogged in his pursuit of the puck.Â And despite a relatively average frame (6-foot-1, 178 pounds), heâ€™s a willing pugilist.Â He might want to rein-in that last element of his game for future success, as his any-situation utility is moot while heâ€™s in the sin bin.
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.
Photo: Aaron Bell/OHL Images
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.
Photo Credit: Photo by Graig Abel/NHLI via Getty Images
Below are a few notes on Joe Colborne and Matt Frattin from their Leafs debut.
Before getting to the scouting reports, I want to state that it is inconceivable to judge these players based on their performance from Saturday night, or based on a single game at the NHL level, so take these as viewings with a grain of salt. I thought they both handled themselves well and were both assertive and contributed something on every shift.
Colborne has had the benefit of playing in the AHL, while Frattin is coming in fresh out of a successful stint in college.