I am not one to usually toot my own horn but WHO WAS RIGHT! I predicted this a month ago in my first article, and everybody was surprised when we picked him instead of a forward. Going to say it one last time, told ya so!
But lets stop talking about how I was right and everybody was wrong. (haha just kidding) and talk about how everybody should be excited about the Leafs.
WE ARE BUILDING A TEAM!
For the first time in years we will have an identity with our team other then crap. We will once again be anonymous with the words gritty and tough. Though be it not right away but it will come.
When we traded for Jamal Mayers, I was scared at first. He is a 33 year old winger that we traded for. Shades of old Leafs. But lets think about this. He is a player that can fit perfectly into Ron Wilson's playing style and can play on the penalty kill. He can also replace Wade Belak as the enforcer on the team while adding a few points now and then. So basically I see him as a Belak x 2. Plus he can teach the younger players a thing or two about being tough also.
Good trade by Cliff.
Then we drafted Luke Schenn. A player that I see playing with Anton Stralman on our top defensive line five years from now. He has speed, grit, size, a good heavy shot and is very physical. Something that our defense desperately needs.
He has also been described as a mold of Ed Jovanovski or as a "Dion Phaneuf with less offense."
Either/or, that is a huge complement, and I would love that on the Maple Leafs.
He will be a top defenseman for the Leafs for years to come.
But who else did we get?
First off I am proud to say that 75% of the players that the Leafs drafted this year are North American while 50% are Canadian! Not to knock European players but there are way too many on the Leafs.
With our second round pick we got a guy named Jimmy Hayes.
He was ranked in the first round of the draft but dropped after an off year playing for Lincoln in the USHL. But in his defense, the USHL is a low scoring league. This kid is a power forward that stands at 6ft5, 210lbs, and even has a pedigree with Keith Tkachuk and former Leaf Tom Fitzgerald being his mothers cousins, so you know hockey is in his blood. he is a first round talent that you will be seeing with the Leafs in the not to distant future.
With our fourth round selection we drafted a Belarusian named Mikhail Stefanovich. he was a first round talent that also dropped because of inconsistency. When this kids on he can score goals at will. With a great shot and good speed he can play with the best of him. But that's sometimes. Other times he can be off and loose the drive to play at 100%. But with Ron Wilson being a no-nonsense coach, that should be fixed very quickly. This pick for me is a bust-or-fly pick that I personally think will be a diamond in the rough.
With the rest of our picks we got:
American defenceman Greg Pateryn, 128th overall, from Ohio of the USHL;
Centre Joel Champagne, 129th, from the QMJHL's Chicoutimi Saugeneens;
German winger Jerome Flaake, 130th, from Koln of the DEL;
Goalie Grant Rollheiser, 158th, from Trail of the BCHL;
Defenceman Andrew MacWilliam, 188th, Camrose of the AJHL.
Every one of these players is 6ft2 or bigger and has some sort of grittyness to them, so you can tell that Cliff Fletcher wants a tough team to play against.
I am proud to say that for the first time in a while I see a light at the end of the Leafs tunnel.