Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke pulled off a deal with the Chicago Blackhawks that sent the Leafs prospect Jimmy Hayes—brother of Kevin Hayes, who the Blackhawks drafted yesterday—to Chicago in return for the 43rd overall pick in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft.
Burke used the pick to select forward Brad Ross, who played with the Portland Winterhawks last season, registering 27 goals and 41 assists for a total of 68 points in 71 games.
Hayes, who stands 6'5" and weighs in at an impressive 210 pounds, was drafted in the second round of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft by the Leafs. Projected to be a power forward, Hayes put up modest totals this season, registering 13 goals and 22 assists for a total of 35 points in 42 games as a member of Boston College.
Ross is known as an agitator and has drawn comparisons to former Toronto Maple Leaf Darcy Tucker.
Ross, who stands 6’1" and weighs in at 173 pounds, is a left-handed shooter who loves to chuck the knuckles and raise a little havoc on the ice—as witnessed by his 203 penalty minutes last season.
Ross is exactly what the Maple Leafs need—a tough player that will do all the dirty work along the boards, but that can also play a fairly defensively responsible game.
He can hit, he can fight, he can score, he can check, and he will stand up for his teammates, which is an attribute that every NHL team desires.
Ross joins a stable of young/tough Leaf prospects that already includes the likes of Christian Hanson, Luca Caputi, Jay Rosehill, and Andre Deveaux—all of whom will be vying for a spot on Toronto’s opening day lineup.
While nobody is suggesting Ross is going to be the next Wendel Clark, his game will remind you of Clark, especially his compete level and heart, which are off the charts. Make no mistake about it, despite a bit of a dirty reputation, Ross is a solid player, who everyone wants on his team and nobody wants to play against.
In a draft that many suspected would yield Brian Burke next to nothing, Burke has pulled off a shrewd move in acquiring Ross, who, in time, should be a staple on the Leafs second or third line.
Nice work Burkie!
For more NHL news and notes check out my website at www.theslapshot.com
Until next time,