Day Two Draft Recap
The 2011 Entry Draft resumed Saturday morning in St. Paul, Minnesota, and with six rounds to get through, teams moved in a rapid fire fashion in making their selections, with little trade movement throughout the day. With such little variance between the quality of picks in this deep draft class, pick-swapping was not a priority, save for the few teams who had a specific name in their sights. Such was the case with Bob Murray and Anaheim, who asked Burke for the Leafs' second of three six-round picks in exchange for the Ducks' 2012 6th rounder.
Having expended their second rounder in the deal for the 22nd overall selection, the Leafs made their next pick in the third round, selecting 6'2”, 180-pound winger Josh Leivo of the Sudbury wolves. While not highly touted, Leafs staff believe he possesses the intangibles necessary to challenge for a spot on the roster in the years to come, including character and competitiveness as well as having a decent frame which will no doubt continue to develop .
It was back to defensemen with the fourth round pick, this time opting for a Swedish prospect in
U-18 IIHF silver medalist Tom Nilsson of Mora. Nilsson is often overshadowed by Sweden's crop of premiere young defenders, but he more than holds his own, using every bit of his developing 6', 180- pound frame to throw impactful hits with aplomb, a tangible he is always willing to utilize. His overall game is still in need of some refinement, specifically in the footwork department, the upside is most certainly there.
Diminutive native Minnesotan Tony Cameranesi was unable to make the walk to the Leafs draft table due to the fact that he was in the midst of a 2-mile run when his name was announced. Considered by pundits to be one of, if not the best pure skater in his draft class, the 5'9” centre is a speedy playmaker with legit offense at the high school level, compiling 54 points in 25 regular season games, and another nine in just three playoff contests.
In direct contrast to the compact speedster, Toronto selected another homegrown project by the name of David Broll with its 152nd pick, a Mississauga-born power forward with the Soo Greyhounds. Broll is an unadulterated wrecking-ball on blades, who is at his punishing best when deployed to wreak havoc on the opposition. While not considered a particularly gifted skater, his presence on the ice, especially in the corners, along the boards, and in front of the net makes him an investment worth making. At 6'2” and 220 pounds, 'Bulldozer', as he is known as, may one day join fellow prospect and former Otter Greg McKegg on the Leaf roster, adding the kind of truculence Burke looks for to do the heavy lifting.
Dennis Robertson, a defender with Brown University of the Eastern College Athletic Conference, has excelled at every level in his minor career. Named the top defenseman and the top academic player with the Langley Chiefs in his home province of B.C. In 2007-08, and again in 2009-10, the 6', 195 pound defender is a more mature prospect at 20 years old, and will continue his development within the Brown program.
Guelph Storm goaltender Garrett Sparks joins the ranks of big Leaf goalie prospects, taken at 190th overall. Sparks, a physically developed 6'2” 200+ pound native of Illinois will challenge for the starter gig in the fall with the Storm. Burke likes his netminders big and confident, and Sparks fits the bill.
With the final Leaf selection, Burke went back to his roots. Hailing from his hometown of Edina, Minnesota, Burke selected Harvard-bound Max Everson, the talented puck-mover recently graduated from the Edina high school program. Marked by his cool-under-pressure demeanour, the 6'1” 190 pound Everson is a heads-up, character-first kid with the smarts and skills to make the safe play to advance the puck. While his mobility is considered a work in progress, he is figured to possess the upside needed to take the next step toward becoming a reliable two-way defender at the next level. He's excited to be joining his older brother in the Harvard hockey program.
Burke and his staff drew heavily from the U.S. Hockey system, welcoming a total of four American prospects into the Blue and White fold. While it is unlikely they will all be promoted to the pro ranks, each possesses the character traits this Leafs development program demands, in particular, a level of composure and self-motivation to compete in a team-first environment. Canada was equally represented with four selections. The lone Swedish acquisition (Nilsson) will be in good company if he makes the leap, with a number of his countrymen already in the system, including Joanas Gustavsson, Carl Gunnarsson, Fabian Brunnstrom (pending a new contract), Mark Owuya, Daniel Brodin and Petter Granberg.
The Leafs are more than satisfied with their success in Minnesota this weekend, landing attractive assets at every position that fit the overall blueprint. Congratulations to the newest members of the Leaf family and to the Leaf management and scouting personnel.