Toronto Maple Leafs: What Do We Need From The Draft?

Shane HouseAnalyst IJune 16, 2008

If you read my past articles, I went through all of the top draft picks and who the Leafs should draft.

I said Luke Schenn. I still stand by that and think that he would be a solid choice, but with all the hype and media saying the Leafs should go for a forward, I had to re-adjust my scouting. Plus, with a new coach that emphasizes defense, it made me think about who else to get.

The player that everyone is talking about is Mikael Boedeker. He is fast and has good hands. He is a very good hockey player, but would he fit into Ron Wilson's system well?

Sorry to say, but no.

Boedeker needs a team with lots of talent around him to make plays happen and unfortunately, the Leafs don't have enough talent right now. Plus, he is also not the most NHL ready. Wilson demands solid play at both ends of the ice and that, I believe, Boedeker does not have.

So, whose next?

When you try to find good prospects you name things a team needs then try to fill it, so lets do that.

We need a forward who is fast, good with the puck, good at both ends of the ice, and has a smart head on his shoulders. Wow, that's a lot to ask for, but there are players here who can meet all those requirements.

Zach Boychuck does come to mind. He is really fast and is good at both ends of the ice, especially in intense game situations. But I feel he is limited when it comes to potential. I see him as a second-third line checker instead of a first line player. That and the fact that I believe we could just trade up for him if necessary with our second round picks eliminate him as a possibility.

Nikita Filipov comes to mind as well, but like Boedeker he is one dimensional. However, I do believe he is going to be very good.

Out of all the forwards in the draft, the one that comes out most is Cody Hodgson. He is a very smart player and has great hands. At the Under-18 World Championships, he was outstanding posting 12 points in the tournament.

The coach of Team Canada, Pat Quinn, said of Hodgson to the Brampton Battalion website, "You always wonder where your leadership will come from in a tournament like this, so the feeling among our staff was that Cody had the characteristics of a leader, especially for a guy his age.

"He's a special young man and he had a lot to do with our success. I've had a lot of guys a lot older than him who don't conduct themselves like he does. We played him against the other teams' top lines and he didn't leave us short in any area."

Coming from an ex-Leafs' coach that hates young players, that goes to show you he is a great leader. He can put the puck in the net in tough situations and is good at both ends of the ice—something that Ron Wilson would covet to have on his team.

Now there is more after the first round pick. With the rest of the draft picks the team has there is still a good chance to nab a couple more impact players, especially with the deep draft class this year.

Let's also not forget the clause in Kubina's contract. I will guarantee that Cliff has been shopping the big defenseman around and rumors say that Columbus might give up a first round pick for him. So you never know what might happen from now till Draft day.

But that's a whole new discussion if that time comes.