Maple Leafs Draft Day Primer – Day 2
It’s Marner Time.
The speculation is over. Mitch Marner is a Toronto Maple Leaf.
With 9 picks remaining in rounds 2-7, the new management team has an opportunity to add much-needed depth to the prospect cupboard. If anyone is equipped to do that, it’s Mark Hunter, so it will be interesting to see how this day plays out.
A trade or two wouldn’t hurt either…but it appears that Leaf fans may need to brace themselves for disappointment in that regard. There are obviously some irons in the fire, but no deals have come together that present the Leafs with the value that they are attaching to their players. Time will tell if being patient will pay off.
Maple Leaf Draft Picks (refresh for updates)
1st Round – 4th Overall
Mitch Marner – C/W
5′ 11″ – 160lbs
“The comparisons to Chicago’s star, Patrick Kane are inevitable because they both are slightly under-sized offensive machines that had phenomenal careers with the London Knights of the OHL. Marner is a magician with the puck & had the OHL scoring race locked up until the final day of the season when Dylan Strome used a 6 point game to snatch the title. Although he still needs to keep getting stronger, the concerns about Marner’s size are overstated and he has shown a willingness go into the dirty areas to make plays & isn’t afraid. It shouldn’t be overlooked that he came into the OHL as a 1 dimensional offensive star that has evolved into a complete player under the tutelage of Dale Hunter. He has the potential to become a superstar in the NHL and thus he shouldn’t get out of the Top 5 at the Draft.” – NACS Draft Guide
2nd Round – 34th Overall
Travis Dermott – D
6′ 0″ – 196lbs
An intelligent, mobile defenseman that capitalizes on offensive chances when they arise and is quick to recognize his post and backcheck hard. Doesn’t force plays or take a lot of chances; rather, he plays it simply, letting the game come to him. Decent physical game, but not overly physical as he can lose some size matchups. All-in-all, a two-way defenseman that makes smart, high-percentage decisions in all three zones. (Curtis Joe, EP 2015)
2nd Round – 61st Overall
Jeremy Bracco – RW
5′ 10″ – 173lbs
“As a small but highly skilled right winger, the obvious comparison to Patrick Kane is tempting but it is also very apt. Bracco has shown to possess elite offensive skills and makes passes that his teammates aren’t expecting because of his vision & patience. He had a solid year with the US under 18 Team and was dynamic on the power play throughout the year. His edge use on his skates is startling and he uses his low centre of gravity and incredible balance to avoid defenders. He still needs to get stronger and play with a little more of an edge but his future lies in his ability to score and he has all of the tools to make that happen.” – NACS Draft Guide
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3rd Round – 65th Overall
Andrew Nielson – D
6′ 3″ – 209lbs
A brutish, big-bodied defenseman that has the size, willingness to give up the body, and physical maturity to make a difference on the ice. Establishes an imposing presence when bearing down on opposing players; does not allow any time or space, and can cause turnovers easily. Has a good eye and is able to make crisp, accurate passes to teammates; also possesses a hard shot. While his skating could be improved, he isn’t immobile and can get around the ice post haste. All-in-all, a physical two-way defender who establishes pressure on the opposition and can also provide offensive support. (Curtis Joe, EP 2015)
3rd Round – 68th Overall
Martins Dziekals – C
5′ 11″ – 170lbs
It’s basically impossible to be more of a sleeper than Dzierkals. He began the season playing in the Latvian pro league after lighting up the junior divisions in two previous campaigns, but he was quickly signed by the KHL’s HK Riga and assigned to the franchise’s junior team.
Dzierkals averaged nearly a point per game in the MHL and his production continued in international tournaments. He recorded four points in five games with Latvian’s U20 team during the Division 1A tournament and led the U18 team with nine points.
Dzierkals is a relatively raw talent, but his quick, accurate shot release is on par with some players getting first-round consideration. He has been a productive player at every level of competition thus far, which is more than enough of a reason for a team to take a flier on him with a late-round pick.
4th Round – 95th Overall
Jesper Lindgren – D
6′ 0″ – 161lbs
Jesper Lindgren, an impressive blend of skill, speed, determination, and intelligence, is the one player you don’t want to see carrying the puck if you are his adversary. The nimble puck-carrying defenseman plays above his age, and is confident enough in his abilites to make creative plays under pressure. He is poised with the puck and possesses a high level of hockey sense; he is always aware of what is unfolding in the play, and never seems to make irrational decisions or bend under adversity. What he lacks in size, he makes up for in spirit and cunning. However, he doesn’t shy away from puck battles, and will use his body to barge his way in and swoop out with the puck. All-in-all, a talented offensive blueliner who plays an adaptive, new-age style of hockey. (Curtis Joe, EP 2015)
5th Round – 125th Overall
Dmytro Timashov – LW/RW
5′ 10″ – 187lbs
An agile winger with very good puckhandling skills; his explosiveness opens up space for himself and teammates, giving him the ablility to create dangerous chances at top speed. All-in-all, a dangerous player that will shock audiences with his speed and creativity. (Curtis Joe, EP 2014)
6th Round – 155th Overall
Stephen Desrochet – D
6′ 4″ – 198lbs
Reliable defender that can eat up minutes due to his smart play in his own end and his strength along the boards. Uses his size to his advantage and protects the puck well. Knows his game inside and out; he knows what he can and can’t do. In this, he knows how to push his limits and break down boundaries. What he can work on would be quicker decision making and quickness through the neutral zone. All-in-all, a well-rounded defenceman who has the tools and the work ethic to be successful moving forward. (Curtis Joe, EP 2015)
7th Round – 185th Overall
Nikita Korostelev – LW/RW
6′ 1″ – 196lbs
A deft skater that plays a skill-based, puck-possession game. Very creative with the puck: can let loose an accurate bullet, utilize his stickhandling ability to create chances, or make a seeing-eye pass to an open teammate. Good hands around the net and relentless on the forecheck. Doesn’t shy away from the physical game. All-in-all, a very creative sniper that can set up, score, and play physical. (Curtis Joe, EP 2014)