Just had a brief word with Leafs head of amateur scouting Dave Morrison, who spoke about the approach to this weekend’s draft without a first or second round pick in hand (as of now):
We have done our list the same as we would in any other year fully prepared for anything that may happen. However we have certainly spent more time looking at a group of players that we think could be there when we pick at 62. Every year we try to unearth a gem and it will be no different at this draft.
Given that the scouting staff has focused more efforts than usual in looking at players within the 62nd pick range, you would think this gives them a slight edge in finding that “gem” should he be out there.
The question then became for me: is there a decision that must be made when picking at 62 between going with a high-risk, high-reward prospect or looking more for a player the scouting staff feels could develop into being “serviceable” within a certain role? The rumblings within scouting circles that Justin Shugg is of high interest to Leafs scouts and management fits more into the latter approach. Morrison had this to say:
Good question. We spend a lot of time on that. There is always a risk reward equation we go through with the players. We factor that in when we make our list. We will take the best NHL prospect on our list at 62. Sometimes you need to swing at the fence to hit a homerun.