The Toronto Maple Leafs entered this draft after having made the playoffs for the first time in a long while. As a result of making it into the post-season, the Leafs’ first selection was 21st.
Last year, the Leafs selected at fifth overall, choosing Morgan Rielly. Not having such a high pick meant that the Leafs selections would likely take more time to develop and have a greater chance of not panning out.
In the first round Toronto drafted Frederik Gauthier, a center for the Rimouski Oceonic. Gauthier, who is six-foot-five and 210 pounds, is said to be a steal at 21st.
Gauthier was rated the eighth best skater in North America according to NHL Central Scouting after a year in which he scored 22 goals, 38 assists for 60 points in 62 games. Gauthier also led all first-year players in faceoff winning percentage (46.6 per cent).
“He played a pretty significant role there,” said Leafs’ General Manager Dave Nonis. “The two-way part of his game is what we found attractive.”
The Leafs did not pick in the second round because that pick was part of the trade that saw the Leafs send three picks to Chicago for center Dave Bolland.
In the third Round the Leafs drafted Centre Carter Verhaeghe of the Niagara Ice Dogs. Verhaeghe, six-foot-one and 181 pounds, scored 18 goals, 26 assists in 67 games for Niagara.
In the fifth round the Leafs selected Right winger Fabrice Herzog of Zug of the Swiss league Herzog, six-foot-one and 167 pounds, had 28 goals and 17 assists for 45 points in 32 games for Zug’s junior team and added two goals, two assists in 20 games for the senior team.
In the sixth round Toronto selected Goalie Antoine Bibeau of the P.E.I. Rocket (now Charlottetown). The six-foot-two, 210-pounder from Victoriaville, Que., was 28-11-3 for the Rocket, with a 2.81 GAA and .911 save percentage
In the seventh and final round Toronto selected Andreas Johnson from Frolunda of the Swedish junior league (5-9, 158 pounds). Johnson, who stands five-foot-nine and weighs 158 pounds, had 23 goals, 31 assists for 54 points in 42 games.
Overall the Leafs made some decent picks, especially Gauthier, who could become the sort of depth centers that can stop the other team from scoring. Gauthier’s size means he can still fill out more in the future, but it could also mean that he would need time with the Marlies in the AHL.
Another concern is that the Leafs seventh round selection is quite small. I realize that a seventh round pick is not likely to make the NHL, but selecting someone that small certainly won’t help.
I was also happy to see the Leafs convert two of this year’s picks and one from next year into Dave Bolland. Not all picks have the same value, and picks from late in the round can take time to develop and the Leafs could use talent now.