Years down the road Mikhail Stefanovich may be viewed as one of the big draft day steals that helped rebuild the Toronto Maple Leafs.
The Leafs took Mikhail with their fourth round pick (98th overall) in the 2008 NHL entry draft. Stefanovich was a highly touted prospect at the beginning of the 2007-2008 QMJHL season. So highly thought of that he was projected to go as high as the top 10.
Scouts then found a flaw in this young man's game though. Mikhail was not playing to the best of his abilities every night. This worried scouts and his ranking began to fall. Come draft day teams passed over him because of his work ethic.
The Leafs, however, saw the potential in him. Instead of using their fourth-round pick to get a player who had a chance of making the NHL, they took a player who will make the NHL if he just changes his attitude.
This season, Stefanovich did just that, he decided he wanted to play hockey from day one of the 2008-2009 season.
Stefanovich finished the regular season with 49 goals and 27 assists for 76 points, also he was an amazing plus 30. Oh ya, he got the 76 points in just 56 games for the Quebec Remparts of the QMJHL good for 17th in league scoring behind guys who played 10-12 more games than him.
What Mikhail will bring the Leafs
Mikhail is a big forward with a scoring touch and could work wonders with fellow Belorussian Mikhail Grabovski a few years down the road. Many scouts are amazed by his hockey sense, he has the ability to out think almost anyone when on the ice.
NHL Central Scouting's Chris Bordeleau says, "He's a big kid, 6'2" and 200 pounds. He has good overall skills, but needs to improve on his work ethic and his involvement if he's going to make it to the next level. When he is on his game, he is a good skater and has a great shot. He can really stickhandle but needs to show it more."
Stefanovich Plays Like
Stefanovich Next Year
Mikhail will be playing for the Marlies next season and will see a few games with the Leafs.