That’s a wrap.
There was nothing to be too surprised about today if you were following the words of Mark Hunter, Brendan Shanahan, Mike Babcock and Kyle Dubas in the preceding few weeks. They wanted an injection of skill in the prospect ranks and they wanted a higher quantity of picks, both of which happened, with the Leafs drafting nine times over the two days.
The Leafs tried to go about their work today under the philosophy of bias free drafting. It was easily discerned that a premium was being placed on skill and production; Hunter, Dubas and co. didn’t bat an eye when it came to looking for high skill levels in small packages. Nor did they totally shy away from some size in the two big blueliners, Nielsen and Desrocher. McDermott is also thick at 6’0, 200, and Russian winger Nikita Korostelev stands 6’2, 195. The Leafs drafted four players from outside North America, to go along with four from Canada and one from the U.S.
- 5 forwards and 4 defencemen.
- 1 Latvian, 1 Ukranian-Swede, 1 Swede, 1 Russian, 4 Canadians, 1 American.
The skill, we need more skill on our team. You get a big, strong guy and it’s hard to develop their skill. The guys that do have skill, you can develop them physically and get them stronger. That’s how I look at it. I think Detroit has been doing that for years. You can get them stronger but you can’t put hockey sense in a player.
The rules have changed and the skilled players have a better chance to get things done on the ice.
– Mark Hunter
We’ll see what becomes of some of these forwards as they develop over the years, but one thing that may prove lacking from this draft class is a natural center with upside that is badly needed in the Leaf system. Hunter sounded optimistic Marner can develop into a C yesterday, but it remains to be seen.
Maybe the Leafs regret passing on Travis Konecny at 24, or maybe it turns out a stroke of genius. They appeared to be leaning defence in that range, in the end grabbing Travis Dermott at 34 to go along with the two bonus picks from the trade down in Jeremy Bracco and Martins Dzierkals, who are a homerun swing and a mystery box respectively.
In the bigger picture, how can you really knock converting UFAs-to-be Franson and Santorelli into Brendan Leipsic, Dermott, Bracco and Dzierkals?
Click the name of the new young Leafs below for pick by pick coverage, including quotes from Director of Player Personnel Mark Hunter.
Toronto Maple Leafs 2015 Draft Selections
|4 - Mitch Marner||C/RW||London (OHL)||18||63||44||82||126|
|34 - Travis Dermott||D||Erie (OHL)||18||61||8||37||45|
|61 - Jeremy Bracco||F||USNDT||18||65||30||64||94|
|65 - Andrew Nielsen||D||Lethbridge (WHL)||18||59||7||17||24|
|68 - Martins Dzierkals||F||HK Riga (MHL)||18||32||10||18||28|
|95 - Jesper Lindgren||D||MODO J20 (SuperElit)||18||36||6||27||33|
|105 - Dmytro Timashov||LW/RW||Quebec (QMJHL)||18||66||19||71||90|
|107 - TRADED||Analysis: 107 + Brad Ross for Martin Marincin|
|155 - Stephen Desrocher||D||Oshawa (OHL)||19||66||10||13||23|
|185 - Nikita Korostelev||RW/LW||Sarnia (OHL)||18||55||24||29||53|