Brian Burke: Which Player Will He Draft?

March 26th, 2012 3 Comments

With another disappointing season nearly in the books, Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke and his scouting staff are just a few weeks away from finding out where they will draft.

Should the Leafs finish where they currently sit in the standings Burke can expect to draft seventh overall. If Toronto falters down the final stretch there is a good possibility that they may fall into a lottery pick slot, which could potentially land Burke the number one overall pick.

Luck has never been a friend of the Maple Leafs organization, especially when it comes to the NHL Entry Draft. With that in mind, look for the Maple Leafs to finish just out of a lottery position, which should garner plenty of four letter words from the Leafs Nation.

If Burke was lucky enough to land a lottery pick he would have the option of trading the pick for immediate help, but the odds say he will keep the pick.

As it stands right now, the top five prospects appear to be Nail Yakupov (RW), Mikhail Grigorenko (C/RW), Matthew Dumba (D), Ryan Murphy (D) and Filip Forsberg (LW).

Yakapov is believed to be the apple of every GM’s eye, while Grigorenko, Dumba, Murphy and Forsberg will make a great consolation prize.

Outside of the top five, it appears as if the scouts are at odds as to which players will go six through 10.

With the Maple Leafs expected to draft in the 6th-8th range, there are a few players that could fill any number of needs that the Maple Leafs may have. Make no mistake about it, the Maple Leafs are thin down the middle, but they are also in need of another puck moving defenseman and some additional toughness up front would be a godsend.

Names like Sarnia Sting forward Alex Galchenyuk (C), Kitchener Rangers forward Radek Faksa (C) and Moose Jaw Warriors defenseman Morgan Rielly look to be the best fits for the Maple Leafs.

With Galchenyuk spending most of this season on the sidelines with an ACL injury there is some risk in drafting him. That said, when you consider his overall talent and the upside he brings to the table there is reason to believe that he could go as high as fifth overall, let alone 6th-8th.

Faksa, a rookie with the Kitchener Rangers, looks to have plenty of offensive tools and at 6’2”, 183 pounds, has the size as well.

In Rielly, Toronto would get one of the best skaters in the draft and another puck moving defensemen, which are hard to come by these days. Rielly has been compared to Scott Niedermayer, which is quite the endorsement.

Of course, Burke could option to trade his pick away. One scenario could see Burke attempt to land additional first round draft picks, sending his top ten pick to the Buffalo Sabres (Currently sitting with the 12th and 26th picks), Washington Capitals (currently sitting with the 13th and 15th picks) or Tampa Bay Lightning (currently sitting with the 9th and 24th picks).

There are plenty of good players available from 10th-20th in the draft, which may allow Burke to entertain making such a move.

Should Burke go through with that kind of scenario he will likely look at players like Belleville Bulls forward Brendan Gaunce (Big body, good hands), Finnish forward Teuvo Teravainen (small frame, very creative and fast) or Ottawa 67’s puck moving defenseman Cody Ceci.

Let’s face it, with so many holes on Burke’s team anything is possible, even trading up to land a better pick.

One thing is for sure, Burke will have a shot at some very impressive talent. Let’s just hope he lands the right player…

Until next time,

Peace!

3 Comments

  1. peterj says:

    I think Burke should do every possible to sign free agent Justin Schultz to a contract. This would give him an excellant prospect on the D who just might be ready for the NHL next season. Then depending on his draft position he should draft the best large forward available, or as you suggest trade the pick especially if he could get Washington’s 2 picks and then again draft the best 2 forwards available, especially large ones if possible. This team needs to get bigger up front.

    Sighning Schultz would help make up for the blunder Burke made when he made the Kessel trade.

  2. Mark Ritter says:

    I like the way you think Peterj. I too like the idea of trying to make somehting happen with Schultz, and, if Burke could deal his pick to Washington for two first rounders I am good with that as well.

  3. Jake says:

    Just ask youself who is a US player and has been injured this year and you have the answer . Mikhail Grigorenko is probably the only one you list here that is actaully what you would call big by todays NHL standards . This is assuming that Burke actually gets to pick in the top 5 at the draft .

    That is not going to help the Leafs much next season so Burke is he manages to hold on to his job will have to find some trades that will make the Leafs better not necessarily great just good enough to make a plsy off appearance .
    Burke should try to get Parise and failing that his more pressing need is some big tough wingers to give this team some leadership and bolster their physical play .
    Phyllis Kessel will never have better value than now so trading him for a premier player would be an option I could live with . Phaneuf well strip his C and shuffle him out the door too for a better leader . The goalies I would look for cheap short term help or go with Reimer and Scrivens next season . That would give the Leafs a new lease on life .

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