Exactly one week from today, the next wave of prospects from across North America and parts of Europe will gather for the 2011 NHL Entry Draft in Minnesota. While Burke opted to flip his top picks this year and last in exchange for an established asset in Phil Kessel, there is reason for excitement around Toronto this time, with two selections in the first round and three in the top 39.
Dave Morrison and the rest of the Leafs scouting staff are preparing for a potential trade up scenario, where Brian Burke would look to move into the top 15 by combining his 25th and 39th picks. While any move is likely to be consummated on the floor, it won’t be a disappointment if Burke can’t move up. Scouts describe this year’s draft class as being a level playing field with tremendous uncertainty after the top three picks. A player ranked in the top 10 going into the night could slip all the way to the latter stages of the first round. Essentially, this could be a first round where, from five on down, shrewd picks determines draft success more than the draft order even more than usual, and drafting twice at #25 and #30 while keeping #39 might not be a bad Plan B.
Let’s just say Burke holds onto all three picks. With an obvious need for further top-six forward depth, the likes of Mark McNeill, Mark Scheifele and Zack Phillips stand out as guys who would pique Burke’s interest. However, if all three of these players are gone before, there is a laundry list of wingers available where the Leafs are poised to select, including Brandon Saad, Tyler Biggs and Matt Puempel. While inconsistency and work ethic concerns have seen Saad fall down the Central Scouting and ISS rankings below where his talent alone would have him, I still find it hard to believe Saad falls in the Leafs‘ range. It would depend on Morrison and co’s character analysis but his talent would be tough to pass on at 25.
A popular Leaf choice for armchair scouts is Matt Puempel, who had an injury-riddled season last year, but still managed to score close to 60 points for a second consecutive season in the OHL with a lowly Peterborough Petes team. Speedy and dynamic, he would be a nice addition to the Leafs‘ relatively thin group of top six winger prospects.
Question for Leaf fans; with the 25th pick in the 2011 Draft, the Maple Leafs select…?
Matt Mistele – he’s a riot.
VLM evaluates the Canucks’ performance in Game 7.
Rumor has it that Seguin will invite Phil Kessel over to take a picture with him and the Stanley Cup.
The Hockey Writers has launched a Leaf blog called Barilko Blue, just in time for the draft and free agency.
Good to see some positives coming out of Wednesday’s brutality.
The brilliant Brock Anton and his Soulja Boy sunglasses went to bed feeling pretty awesome and woke upÂ completely screwed (I don’t know how VPD did it, it’s like he published a list of crimes online under his name or something). The author hit the nail on the head here:
That hockey has its own fair share of mouth-breathers doesnâ€™t come as any surprise, of course. What does is the fact that the City of Vancouver thought it could somehow allow 100,000+ people to assemble in its downtown core for the final game of a fraught seven game series without running into serious problems. Win or lose, that was a bizarrely naive decision. We can assume that some number of those who looted The Bay, London Drugs, and other stores were common criminals whoâ€™d planned long ago to take advantage of the post-game chaos, whether Canucks fans were celebrating or, as it turned out, in mourning. And the City obliged by giving them the cover they needed. Just as strange is the fact that the windows of those stores hadnâ€™t been covered with plywood hours before, given the certainty that a human hurricane was on its way. Heck, with that many people throttling Georgia Street, even if The Bayâ€™s big display windows hadnâ€™t had the boots put to them, somebody was likely to get pushed through one.