LOS ANGELES, Calif. – At the outset, it looked like the 2010 NHL entry draft might be a quiet one for the Toronto Maple Leafs.
They traded away their first two picks to land Phil Kessel last summer and weren’t scheduled to make their first selection on Saturday until early in the third round. General manager Brian Burke was busy though, making several minor deals and listening to offers for defenceman Tomas Kaberle.
Burke dealt unsigned prospect Jimmy Hayes to Chicago in exchange for a second-round pick that the Blackhawks had previously acquired from Calgary. Burke used the No. 43 overall selection to take Portland Winterhawks forward Bradley Ross.
“This is a player we had rated much higher than that,” Burke said. “We were happy there were some wonky picks in the first round last night. Guys kind of went off the list a little bit and it managed to drop him down to us. We were able to make the trade. We put a good prospect in Jimmy Hayes, he’s a good kid too.
“But this kid brings a little more bite.”
Ross, a six-foot 175-pounder, had 68 points (27-41) in 71 games last season. He added nine points (2-7) in 13 playoff games.
“Words can’t describe what I’m feeling right now,” he said with a huge grin.
Hayes was selected by the Leafs with the 60th overall pick in 2008. He had 35 points (13-22) in 42 games with Boston College last season.
Burke said it will likely take some time before Ross cracks the roster, but he likes his numbers.
“This is a guy with 20-plus goals and 200 penalty minutes,” Burke said. “It suits me just fine.”
Toronto also dealt a fifth-round pick (No. 122 overall) to the Anaheim Ducks for forward Mike Brown. He had seven points (6-1) and 106 penalty minutes in 75 games last season.
“We didn’t get him for shootouts,” Burke said. “This is a guy who knows how to take care of his teammates.”
Burke said there was no change on the Kaberle front. The veteran blue-liner’s no-trade clause is not in effect for part of the summer.
“We’re not shopping Tomas Kaberle, we’re listening,” Burke said. “And it’s not a case of we’re going to take the best offer we get. We’re going to get exactly what we want or we’re keeping him. So it just didn’t make any sense.”
Burke said fellow GMs are focused on the draft and not necessarily on other transactions, especially with free agency season to begin July 1. He added that four teams made offers for Kaberle.
“Well, we got three and an insult,” Burke said. “Four teams made offers but one of them I wouldn’t view as legitimate and the others weren’t commensurate with anything like what we need.”
Burke said he was pleased with what transpired at the Staples Center.
“We think we added some pieces that will help our team down the road,” he said. “We think Mike Brown helps right away, so we think it’s a good weekend.”
And he insisted that it didn’t sting to watch the Boston Bruins select Tyler Seguin with the second overall pick they acquired in the Kessel deal.
“This has caused a lot of angst in the media and very little on our hockey club,” Burke said. “We got the player we wanted, he played for us all year.
“Now I hope with Boston’s pick, the player they took, I think he’s going to be a really good player and I hope he is for the Boston Bruins.”
The Leafs selected Erie Otters centre Greg McKegg with the 62nd overall selection. Toronto went with Swedish league players with three of its next four picks. The Leafs took forward Sondre Olden (Modo Jr.) at No. 79, Petter Granberg (Skelleftea Jr.) at No. 116, and Daniel Brodin (Djurgarden) at No. 146.
The Leafs selected Brampton Battalion centre Sam Carrick with the No. 144 selection and Saskatoon Blades right-winger Josh Nicholls at No. 182.
Toronto acquired the No. 79 pick from Los Angeles in exchange for a third-round pick in 2012. The Leafs gave up their No. 112 pick to Washington in exchange for the No. 116 and No. 146 selections this year. Toronto also sent a seventh-round pick (No. 202) to Edmonton for the Oilers’ sixth-round pick in 2011.