Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Have The Maple Leafs Accomplished "The Drafting Goal"?

"Ottawa really wanted you so we did you a favour"
For Christmas I got a book call The Art of Scouting by Shane Malloy. The book talks about what scouts look for in a player, and how many hockey teams in the NHL have changed their ways of scouting over the years. It's been pretty interesting so far and one part really got me thinking about how my Toronto Maple Leafs have done the past 10 years.

In The Art of Scouting, many of the scouts said that their main goal was to get two NHL players per draft. That is a lot easier said than done, especially if you don’t have a 1st round draft pick like the Leafs who've sat our the first round in 4 of the last 10 drafts. I understand drafting 18-year-olds is not as easy it looks, but I was curious about my Maple Leafs and if they had achieved this goal at the Draft in the past ten years. I knew they hadn't drafted any stars, but they did draft some NHLers, but two per draft? Let's see:
Not a bad draft for the Leafs with 3 NHLers. Steen has been the best of the crop, unfortunately he's had his best seasons with the St. Louis Blues. Matt Stajan is an NHLer (hurts to say that), but is the Calgary Flames problem now. Ian White was a nice late pick in the 6th round, who is en route to a career year with his 5th team in 2 years, the Detroit Red Wings. Overall, mission accomplished on drafting NHLers.
In one of the strongest drafts ever for the NHL. The Leafs best pick was at 57th overall and he wasn't even good enough to be an AHL player. The Bruins had the Leafs first rounder (sounds familiar) that was acquired from the San Jose Sharks who received the Leafs pick in the Owen Nolan trade (luckily for the Leafs, they took Mark Stuart). John Mitchell who got some screen time on HBO 24/7 this year is the only NHL player selected by the Leafs, but even he has more AHL games played than NHL. The Leafs failed miserably in drafting NHLers this year.
For the second year in a row the Leafs didn't have a 1st round pick (Brian Leetch trade) and this year they also didn't have their 2nd rounder. The Leafs should have just saved the money and not even shown up for this draft as none of their selections have been NHL regulars. Probably the Leafs worst draft year in the past 10 years.

Remember when the Leafs had two amazing goalies at the 2006 World Juniors? Pogge winning gold for Canada and 1st round draft pick Tuukka Rask looking like the next superstar goalie in the league. Good times. Well, the Leafs were right in picking Rask who battles Tim Thomas in Boston for gametime. Stralman was looking like an NHL-ready defenceman, but when Columbus gives up on you and an 18-year-old beats you out of the Devils training camp it's hardly a success story. An OK draft to cap a year of no NHL hockey.
One of the best recent drafts for the Leafs with 5 out of the 7 picks looking to be regular NHLers. Jiri Tlusty is getting 3rd line minutes with the Carolina Hurricanes and hasn't taken a dick-pic in 4 years! Viktor Stalberg is earning decent minutes with the Blackhawks and is having a career year. Kulemin is a 30 goal scorer for the Leafs, but has struggled this year. Reimer is a solid goalie, but will have to earn his way back into the Leafs line-up and Holzer would be on the Leafs if they didn't have 3 other guys sitting in the pressbox making more money than him, so that's 5 NHLers out of 7 picks and in one of the Leafs most successful drafts.
No top picks in 2007, but the Leafs got a steady d-man in the 7th with Gunnarsson and Frattin could be a full time NHL player in the near future. The Leafs first rounder this year was traded at the draft for fan favourite Vesa Toskala. An OK draft year saved by a late round steal in Gunnarsson.
Luke Schenn is in his 4th season with the Leafs and already seems to be on his way out with constant trade talks, but is a solid NHL defenceman who likes to throw his body around. Jimmy Hayes is playing for the Blackhawks now and putting up some solid numbers, time will tell if he keeps it up though. With a Top 5 pick you better get an NHL player, but it looks like none of the other picks outside of Hayes will get shots at the NHL.
Kadri will be a full time NHLer and at 7th overall he better be. Jesse Blacker has impressed at every level so far and is in his first full season of pro hockey with the Marlies. High hopes for D'Amigo have fizzled, and Ryan and Devane have chances of playing in the NHL as grinders. In the end it's a solid draft for the Leafs as they have an NHLer and should have a few others from this draft.
Still way to early to see how any of these prospects will turn out, but Ross, McKegg, Carrick and Nicholls are all point-per-game players in their junior leagues. If things pan out this could be a great draft considering there was no first round pick (this will always be known as the Tyler Seguin draft year in my mind).
The Toronto Maple Leafs had two first round picks for the first time since 1993, mind you, they were late first rounders. Way too early to tell, but if Biggs, Percy and Leivo develop as predicted they could be big parts of the Maple Leafs future. A+ for having 2 first round picks.

What do you think of the Maple Leafs drafts the last 10 years?

8 comments:

  1. Leafs could have drafted Karlsson and Tyler Myers over Schenn. FAIL

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    1. Karlsson was really a wildcard. One or two mock drafts saw him going as high as tenth yet many had him 28th to 30th or early second round. Apparently, the only other GM who had supposedly been eying Karlsson closely was, ironically, Brian Burke of the Anaheim Ducks. Murray made a move to leapfrog the Ducks who originally sat one spot ahead of them out of fear that they would take Erik.

      I guess Kadri was revenge for Burke but I was ecstatic that the Senators took Cowen though disappointed Ottawa couldn't find a way to take Hedman (I thought he was the next Chris Pronger for sure). I still take Hedman in at least one fantasy pool every year for better or worse... usually worse.

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    2. I hate when people say "We could have drafted this player" years after. At the time you probably thought it was a good pick and probably didn't even know who Karlsson and Myers were.

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  2. I think the Leafs have drafted pretty badly the last 10 years. While other teams have found superstars. The best players the Leafs have drafted is either Alex Steen or Nik Kulemin. That's not saying much.

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    1. It's easy to find superstars when you finish bottom of the league for a few years like Pittsburgh, Washington and Chicago have done.

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    2. and like toronto has done...

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    3. MAn I just looked at the standings the last 10 years and I totally forgot teams like the Hawks, Flyers, Pens were so bad...5 years ago the Flyers had 56 points! They have 61 already this season!

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  3. Unfortunately few of the Leafs picks that are in the NHL are with the Leafs. And the Leafs don't have much to show for them either

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