Raking Leafs

Mixing metaphors and casting cliches about hockey and the Maple Leafs for the ether's pleasure since MCMLXVII.

6/21/2006

HF Draft Preview reviewed

Hockey's Future released their Leafs Draft Preview yesterday, and as usual it is an excellent resource. However I have a few observations that might add some context to their summations.

The acquisition of Suglobov is praised for displaying the team's willingness to be a 'seller', but tempered by
The fact that the Devils, a team with a history of building through youth, was so willing to give up on the enigmatic winger should raise some flags about his long-term projections.
Now, there is nothing factually wrong about this presumption. However, when Alexsander was acquired he mentioned how he was excited to come to a team with more of a focus on offense. I take this to imply he didn't enjoy his time in the Devils' system and its rigid defensive scheme. And yet he still was scoring at almost a point-per-game pace. So, although I remain cautious on Suglobov, I can definitely see an upside that might surprise most doubters. He is a project, but almost certainly not a lost cause, especially with the youth/development-oriented Maurice manning the helm. (Suglobov's Marlie play-off goal/fight performance is definitely encouraging.)

Next, the defense is addressed with this less-than-flattering comment
On defense, other than Carlo Colaiacovo, the organization's defensemen are more impressive in quantity rather than quality.
Now, that doesn't sound like a comment that saw Harrison play like a young Jason Smith at times. Nor does it sound like much credit is being given to Ian White who proved to be good puck-mover and point producer at the NHL level, as well as a blooming powerplay quarter back.

HF also takes issue with the rooks who played most of the season up with the big buds.
While players like Kyle Wellwood and Alexander Steen performed well last year, they don't project to be the top-line players to replace the Mats Sundins of the organization.
I agree Steen isn't a scoring-line type of player (he is as fundamentally sound as they come, but I'm not sold on this offensive instincts yet), but I disagree with the take on Wellwood. Kyle can flat out play the game. Remember, he did beat out Spezza for the scoring title in 04-05. Give him some time and he'll be scoring more than his share for the team.

HF predicts James Sheppard of the Q to be selected with the 13th pick(#10 on sportsnet.ca top 60). T.M.L 1967's mock draft has the Leafs selecting 6'3" Patrik Berglund (#19 on sportsnet.ca top 60) or Ryan White (#18) or Kyle Okposo (#11)

UPDATE - Thirteenth overall picks from the past 20 years. Notables - Dustin Brown, Ales Hemsky, J.S. Giguere, Matthias Ohlund, Phillipe Boucher.

UPDATE 2 - David Johnson of HockeyAnalysis has a great Off-season Preview up.

2 Comments:

  • At 6:48 PM, Anonymous David Johnson said…

    I don't think anyone projects Wellwood to be a star player though with the new rules he could be a solid offensive player. I personally view him more as a second line center than a first line guy though he might be acceptable on the first line if you pair him with a star winger. If Wellwood is your best forward on your team I think you will be in trouble. Steen is more of a 2-way player and I would project him to be more of a 25-30 goal, 70 point kind of guy. But again, if he is your best forward on your team, I think you might be in trouble.

    On defense, none of their prospects project into being #1 defensemen though I do quite like Harrison and White. Harrison could develop into a solid defensive defenseman and I would compare White to a Brian Rafalski type. Small but skilled offensively and very good on the PP. I would like both to see regular action with the Leafs this year, but neither project as elite players but both should develop nicely into #3/4 defensemen.

     
  • At 2:15 PM, Blogger ninja said…

    David, thanks for dropping by. I read your draft preview of the Leafs over at HockeyAnalysis, and I see we are thinking along similar lines in many respects.

    I've heard that Wellwood isn't projected to be a star, but doesn't 'projected' need to be re-examined with the new enforcement standards? It took many management teams a full season to realize they needed to adjust. Have scouts adjusted yet? I don't know, but from what I saw of Wellwood last year, I think he'll be a very good NHLer.

    And though the defense aren't tabbbed to be elite, despite that concept getting remodelled as well, the Leafs don't need elite defenders. They need a solid second and third pairing, and the youngsters will help fill at least half of those spots.

    And I think I forgot to mention Stajan as someone who didn't exactly break-out last year, but had a tremendous year when he played his natural center position and was relied upon in PK situations.

    I'd be really disappointed if any of Steen, Wellwood, or Stajan were moved for a goalie, as the rumor mill is churning out today. Even moving Pohl would be a mistake.

    They can trade Wozniewski. He fumbles the puck too much for my liking.

     

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