Leafs Hope Quantity Leads to Quality with 1990 Draft Class Dec 4, 2019 15:17:02 GMT -6 montreal likes this
Post by TorontoGM on Dec 4, 2019 15:17:02 GMT -6
Maple Leafs second round pick Drake Berehowsky realizes he needs to begin putting money aside to buy tickets for all his Toronto-based family and friends.
Toronto, ON (CP) - One year ago, the Toronto Maple Leafs selected incoming Soviet superstar Sergei Fedorov and only one other player in the 1989 JAFHL Entry Draft. This year, they had no top three selection but replaced quality with an abundance of quantity. They began the draft with five selections and, after a series of transactions, the Buds will exit the week with eight new youngsters to add to their prospect pool.
Glenn Healy was a much-heralded trade by the Leafs last offseason but the move left them without a first-round pick in this year’s draft. As the first round wound down to its conclusion, GM Gary Mok saw an opportunity to add the 21st overall pick by moving on from 23 year-old defender Bill Houlder. Houlder had a great AHL season last year for minor league affiliate St. John's and was slated to begin the season as the sixth or seventh defenceman on the Leafs. Instead, he was shipped to Pittsburgh so that Toronto could bring in Hall-of-Famer Marcel Dionne’s younger brother, Gilbert.
Though they may share a last name and some similar offensive puck skills, Gilbert and Marcel are very different hockey players. Gilbert is a left winger who is three inches taller than his older brother and more known for his goal-scoring prowess rather than Marcel’s playmaking wizardry. The younger Dionne comes to the Leafs after scoring 105 points for the OHL’s Kitchener Rangers and GM Mok said that it was likely he would stay in the juniors to get some more seasoning.
“I think he’s definitely skilled enough to join our ranks this year,” said Mok, “and of course he’s got the golden last name. But I think he needs to get stronger and tougher before we bring him in to challenge for a top six role.”
Shortly after selecting Dionne, the Leafs were back on the podium thanks to another trade with the Penguins. This time it was a midseason deal that saw Toronto ship winger Mark Osborne for what ended up being the 28th overall pick. With it, the Leafs selected little-known Soviet winger Andrei Kovalenko, who put up 13 points in 48 games for CSKA Moscow this past year.
“I honestly didn’t even know who Andrei was a week ago,” smiled a beaming Mok, “but we sent some scouts over to Moscow to watch Fedorov play this past season and they came back raving about this Kovalenko kid. He’s at least two years away from joining us but I hear his teammates back home have nicknamed him the Tank. I’m not sure if it’s because he’s super strong or super explosive in the dressing room.”
With their final selection of the second round, the Leafs had their own pick, 36th overall, and addressed the blueline by choosing hometown boy Drake Berehowsky. Known as an offensive defender for the OHL’s Kingston Frontenacs, Berehowsky’s 6’2, 225lb frame gives him all the tools to be a future, all-around top line talent. However, he slipped to the middle of the second round largely because of questions about drive, intelligence, and feel for the game.
“Drake still has a lot of growing up to do,” said Mok, “unfortunately, he will likely go back to living with his parents when he joins our squad in the future.”
With five more picks in the remaining two rounds, the Leafs will be hoping to strike lottery gold like the Hartford Whalers did last year with third rounder Patrick Lebeau. It begins with the second pick of the third round, purchased from the LA Kings today for a cool one million dollars.
Said GM Mok: “We beefed up our scouting department this past year. I thought it was only fair to give them some more shots to see if it was money well spent.”
Rumour has it the Leafs have their sights set on a promising goalie of the future, the only positional group they haven't addressed so far. This is despite the presence of current starting netminder Glenn Healy clearly in his prime and Minnesota-native Damian Rhodes in the pipeline. Who will be this future masked man in the crease for Toronto and, more importantly, what will Healy have to say about it?