NHL Draft 2012: 5 Players the Toronto Maple Leafs Should Target with Second Pick
With the Toronto Maple Leafs holding the fifth overall pick in Friday night's draft, it seems like many have forgotten that they also possess the 35th overall pick, which is nearly as good as a late first-rounder.
That means the Leafs will have two opportunities to draft a player who is capable of making an impact, and help right the ship in Toronto.
The question is, who should the Leafs target with their second-round pick?
Who will provide the greatest benefit in a few years time for the Toronto Maple Leafs?
Here are the five players Toronto should hope fall to No. 35.
Hoping Brendan Gaunce falls all the way to pick No. 35 may be a stretch, but the Leafs would be extremely fortunate if he does.
There is a very good chance that the 6'2" center from Markham, ON will be chosen in the first round, but if he does, Toronto would be foolish to pass on him.
Gaunce is known as an extremely well-rounded player, who can play the power-forward role, as well as distribute the puck and finish scoring chances.
His hockey IQ and vision are also strengths, and he is the type of player Leafs GM Brian Burke loves (big, two-way player, who plays a tough game).
His skating ability is not a desirable trait, but he possesses just about everything else necessary to become a successful hockey player at the professional level.
This year, he scored 68 points in 68 games, playing most of the season as a 17-year-old with the Belleville Bulls.
Martin Frk is another dream player for Brian Burke.
A skilled 6'0" winger, Frk also possesses a gritty side to his game that fits well into head coach Randy Carlyle's system.
Factor in his absolute cannon of a shot and you have got a solid potential two-way player with some toughness.
Thanks to a concussion sustained this season playing in the QMJHL, Frk has seen his stock drop somewhat, and may slip to Toronto at pick No. 35.
If that were to happen, Frk would make a great addition to the Leafs organization.
Daniil Zharkov could be another option once the 35th pick rolls around.
While Hockey Prospectus has him ranked as the 28th ranked prospect heading into the draft, he seems to be more of a project-type player, and that could lead to him dropping to the 35th draft slot.
Zharkov is a tall winger (6'3") with good speed, who has the ability to find the back of the net.
In his first year of junior hockey with Belleville this year, Zharkov tallied 23 goals, but only added 13 assists in his 50 games.
His defensive game needs work, and there are some concerns with his ability (or willingness) to pass the puck, but he could provide some great value in the second round.
With the Maple Leafs likely to draft a more flashy, skilled player with the fifth overall pick, they can afford to use their second round selection on a more tactical player like Scott Laughton.
According to Hockey Prospectus, Laughton is not exactly a flashy forward with superstar potential, but he can provide some offense and be a defensively reliable center, who is good in the face-off circle and kill penalties.
As we witnessed in this year's postseason, those bottom-six forwards can be key to a team's playoff success, and Laughton could become one of the better bottom-six forwards in the league in a few years time.
Colton Sissons is another player who can do all the little things properly and contributes in more ways than just on the scoresheet.
Despite suffering a concussion this season, Sissons was able to post 41 points in 58 games for the Kelowna Rockets.
While he may never score 30 goals or 70 points in any given season, Sissons is another player who knows how to win and plays the game properly.
He is a tough fore-checker and is good in one-on-one battles.
Assuming his concussion problems don't become an ongoing problem, Sissons would be a great choice for Toronto.