Skip to main content

2015 Draft Preview - It's blue sky for the Toronto Maple Leafs

It was a great indictment of the Toronto Maple Leafs’ drafting and developing when Brendan Shanahan fired the man who ran the hockey department, GM Dave Nonis, plus several key scouts two months before a pivotal draft. So where do they go from here?
The Hockey News

The Hockey News

It was a great indictment of the Toronto Maple Leafs’ drafting and developing when Brendan Shanahan fired the man who ran the hockey department, GM Dave Nonis, plus several key scouts two months before a pivotal draft. The scouting dismissals were on the advice of director of player personnel Mark Hunter, who has essentially been given the keys to the kingdom when it comes to picking and cultivating prospects. Hunter comes with an excellent track record of talent identification from his days with the London Knights, and the Leafs hired him to help find NHL-caliber players.

PICKS:

Round 1, picks 4, 24

Round 3, pick 65

Round 4, picks 95, 107

Round 5, pick 125

Round 6, pick 155

Round 7, pick 185

SHORT-TERM NEEDS:

The Leafs have lacked a true No. 1 center since Mats Sundin. Tyler Bozak has good chemistry with Phil Kessel, but their defensive acumen is so lacking that Toronto’s top line, which also included James van Riemsdyk, made up three of the NHL’s bottom five in plus-minus.

LONG-TERM NEEDS:

Depending upon what happens in what should be an interesting off-season, the Leafs have enough top-end talent. They need secondary help, the kinds of players you get in the middle to late rounds of the draft where the Leafs have been so bereft of impact picks.

CAP SITUATION:

Even if the Leafs don’t manage to shed salary over the summer, they have just $57.4 million committed for next season, and their only RFAs of note are goalie Jonathan Bernier and center Nazem Kadri.

IN THE SYSTEM 2015-16:

The Leafs have consistently ranked near the bottom of THN’s Future Watch rankings, which is a big reason why they find themselves in their current situation. Top prospect William Nylander got his first taste of North American pro hockey playing for Toronto’s AHL affiliate. Stuart Percy saw some NHL time and looks ready to make the jump. Connor Brown, the CHL’s top scorer in 2013-14, led the Marlies in scoring.

DID YOU KNOW:

Of the eight players taken by the Leafs in the 2008 draft, only one remains with the organization. That’s D-man Andrew MacWilliam, taken 188th overall, who played 12 games with Toronto this season.

THN will be releasing its Team Reports from Draft Preview for each of the 30 NHL franchises in the week leading up to the NHL Draft. Read them in our “Draft” channel.

TOP HEADLINES

USATSI_18572509

There's a Lot to Be Thankful for This NHL Season

With the Stanley Cup set to be awarded in short order, it's as good of a time as any to look back at the return of a full NHL season, and say “thank you” to all the people who made it happen.

USATSI_18590682

The Avalance Are Stealing the Lightning's Narrative

The Tampa Bay Lightning may be known for their ability to respond to a loss. But the Colorado Avalanche have taken that narrative and run with it, leading them to within one win of the Stanley Cup.

USATSI_18579030

The Lightning Know it Best: 'We Have to Play Like There's No Tomorrow'

The Tampa Bay Lightning have no mulligans left in the tank, but they're hoping to take the momentum and force Game 7 -- and we know all too well how good the Bolts are in elimination games.