After much posturing and pondering, the Maple Leafs did indeed manage to pair two of their top three selections to move in the first round. With the 22nd overall pick, the club selected American power forward Tyler Biggs and followed that up with the selection of Memorial Cup standout defenseman Stuart Percy.
1st round, 22nd overall – RW Tyler Biggs (USHL)
With mid first round candidate Tyler Biggs sliding down the rankings a little bit, the Maple Leafs swung a deal with the Anaheim Ducks, sending picks #30 and #39 to the Ducks for pick #22 in order to snag the ferocious power forward prospect. This is a behemoth of a player who brings a great deal of physicality, toughness, leadership ability and a bit of a scoring touch as well.
Here’s what I said about Biggs during the MLHS Draft Profile Series:
“A team that gambles on him earlier on will do so with the hope of producing a David Backes type, while teams that arenâ€™t quite as high on Biggs will view him as more ofÂ a Kyle Clifford or a David Clarkson type, a selection more appropriately suited for the late first round. Colour me as more of a Biggs fan even with the perceived limited upside, as I would gladly an elite level checker with 15-20 goal ability any day. These players are the ones that form the backbones of winning teams and teams never seem to let them reach the trade market or free agency, so youâ€™ve got to draft them yourself.”
1st round, 25th overall – Defenseman Stuart Percy (OHL)
Boy did we ever nail this one during our Percy profile for the Draft Profile Series. The Maple Leafs had supposedly fallen in love with the intelligent young blueliner after a quietly impressive season with the Majors and a coming out party at the Memorial Cup tournament. Percy doesn’t play with a ton of flash and may have been a bit of a reach here, but the Maple Leafs struck early to ensure they got the guy they wanted.
Here’s what I said about Percy a few days ago:
“Now this is where a teamâ€™s valuation of Percy could get interesting. Prior to the Memorial Cup tournament, he was your prototypical second or third tier defenseman with a chance to have a productive NHL career as more of a #4-6 type on the depth chart. After a brilliant showing in front of dozens of scouts and general managers, teams are beginning to revisit their original perceptions of the young blueliner. Does he have more to offer? If given more opportunity and bigger minutes, could be a stud #1 junior defenseman next season? Regardless, he figures to be selected much higher than his 53rd best North American skater ranking from Central Scouting. With time, I believe Percy could become a rock solid #3-4 minute muncher with the ability to reasonably handle second unit powerplay duties.”
The Maple Leafs did a nice job on Day One in securing two players with a very strong likelihood of being able to contribute on a contending team. While neither Biggs or Percy possess a ton of star potential, both players offer plenty of coachability, character and a defined set of skills that any team would welcome, and Burke relishes as much as any GM. The Maple Leafs scouting staff will have a very busy Day Two with eight selections coming up in the final six rounds on Saturday afternoon.
Your say: Did Burke go too “safe?”