With the 52nd overall draft selection in the 2018 NHL Draft, the Toronto Maple Leafs have selected right-handed defenseman Sean Durzi from the Owen Sound Attack.
Durzi, 5’11.5 and 195 pounds, was a 2017 draft eligible having turned 19 last October. He had a breakout season offensively for Owen Sound in his plus-one year in 2017-18, although his year was curtailed by injuries. He finished the regular season with 49 points in 40 games, including 15 goals — good for second among OHL defensemen in points per game (behind Evan Bouchard).
Durzi added four goals and 16 points in 11 playoff games to lead all OHL defensemen in postseason points per game.
In the OHL coaches poll, Durzi was voted second among offensive defensemen in the Western Conference behind Bouchard and finished third in the voting for OHL Defenseman of the Year behind Nic Hague and Evan Bouchard.
Durzi took part in the Leafs‘ 2017 development camp after getting passed over in last year’s draft, so he is a known quantity to the organization, to say the least. He is eligible to return to the Attack for an overage season or join the Toronto Marlies, as he’ll turn 20 in October.
The Leafs‘ first two picks of the 2018 draft fit a similar profile — both OHL defenders, somewhat undersized, offensively productive defensemen, mobile puck movers, and stick-on-puck defenders with good gaps who can aid the transition game. “The way we like the position to be played,” as Kyle Dubas put it yesterday in regards to Rasmus Sandin.
Sean Durzi Scouting Report
Durzi is a mobile, offensive-minded defender with competitiveness to his game. Sean shows fluid skating abilities, utilizing his edges and lateral quickness to elude contact and create space. While he does lack great straight line speed, Durzi is able to carry transition attack’s pushing the pace in possession. A confident puck-handler, Sean shows good awareness of his teammates. He is able to generate offensive opportunities from the back-end with his skating abilities and shows a willingness to inject from his point position at the appropriate times. In the offensive zone, Sean distributes the puck well, showing vision from the blue line. His quick feet allow him to walk the line effectively and open shooting lanes. Durzi has a quality point shot. Sean will recognize deflection opportunities and shoot for teammates sticks, as opposed to looking to beat goaltenders clean from the point. While defending Durzi does a good job keeping the play in front of him and angling opponents away from the centre of the ice. He uses sound body positioning and an active stick to defend. His edges and mobility allow him to contain well, while he quickly pressures puck carriers, taking away their time and space. Sean does rely mostly on his feet and stick to defend. Durzi has shown some durability issues over the past few seasons which is a minor concern moving forward.
Kyle Dubas on Sean Durzi
We had him at our development camp last year. At the time, we didn’t have any contracts. We had a lot of bodies coming to the rookie tournament, so we didn’t have him come to the rookie tournament. He just got better and better as the year went on. We liked everything about him – his foot speed improved. He’s able to make plays. He’s a big kid, too, relatively speaking for this day and age. Six feet tall and almost 200 pounds and can defend against the best players in that league now. We’re happy to have him.
I think the thing that impressed us is that he was very open about where he was at as a person. From talking to his team and the staff at Owen Sound and doing our research on it, he’s really transformed the way that he lives day in and day out. Not that there was anything wrong with it before; he was a teenager before, and now you talk to him, and he monitors everything that goes into his body. He’s very meticulous with his habits. He’s really become a pro in the year. Obviously, it pays off for him today, going from undrafted to picked in the second round. We’re happy to have him.
Sean Durzi StatisticsPosition: D
Height: 6'0" / 183 cm
Weight: 196 lbs / 89 kg
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