June 15 2014 12:44PM
I wish I could bring more insight about this years draft. To be honest, I'm terrible at paying attention to draft classes, and tend to just go on Youtube the day before and pick whoever has the coolest trick shot as the guy I want the Leafs to pick. Its a pretty poor strategy, and one of my ambitions for next season is to not find myself in the same position this time in 2015.
I did get to thinking though, the Leafs have drafted a lot of guys over the years. Where is everybody? I looked up every player the Leafs have drafted in this millennium, and traced their current hockey location (league of most games played in 2013/14) down.
Something that surprised me a lot: of the 106 players the Leafs have selected over the past 14 years, eighteen of them are regular NHLers. These guys rank from the fringe (Jimmy Hayes) to the elite (Tuukka Rask). The issue, of course, is that just five of those eighteen are playing for the Leafs. Hayes teamed up with Brad Boyes in Florida. Jay Harrison and Jiri Tlusty played together in Carolina. Matt Frattin split time between LA and Columbus, Luke Schenn was in Philly (this one nobody minds for obvious reasons), Viktor Stalberg was in Nashville. Johnny "Malkin" Mitchell was in Colorado, Anton Stralman won the east with the New York Rangers, Matt Stajan still does stuff in Calgary, and Alex Steen and Carlo Colaiacovo were chilling in St. Louis.
Tied with the NHL on this list is the American Hockey League. This, of course, is much more Toronto-controlled territory, with fourteen players spending the bulk of their year with the Toronto Marlies (and Jesse Blacker having started the season there). The most surprising of all the AHLers, however, is Jean-Philippe Cote. The last pick by the Leafs in 2000, the 32 year old has stuck to the grind and represented Tampa Bay in 19 of his 27 career NHL games this year, but spent most of the season with Syracuse.
The last significant location for these picks is the KHL. Twelve of these draft picks found their way there this year, with eleven of them being European in background (Ian White being the sore thumb). Unsurprisingly, this is the land of the ones drafted long ago, with Juraj Mikus and Leo Komarov (who is expected to return to the NHL) being the only two drafted after 2004.
Beyond that, players have scattered around the world. I found it funny that Leafs picks from three different draft classes (Miguel Delisle of 2000, Nicolas Corbeil of 2001, and Dominic D'Amour of 2002) all find themselves on the same LNAH (very-low level pro league in Quebec/East Ontario) team. I also wonder if playing in the third level German league is better or worse than the fourth level Swedish league.
Lastly, I was impressed by the fact that only eight players appear to have left professional hockey. I guess the sport is the only thing that some of these guys have, but a lot of them are in their 30's now and have jumped around a lot of leagues. Whether they're chasing dreams or paycheques now is a curious question, but in any event, there's a lot of dedication required there. Below is the full list, sorted by location:
|Player||Year||League||Team / Last Year|
|Dale Mitchell||2007||ECHL||South Carolina|
|Jan Chovan||2001||Hungary||Nove Zamky|
|Leo Komarov||2006||KHL||Moscow Dynamo|
|Konstantin Volkov||2003||KHL||Moscow Dynamo|
|Jarkko Immonen||2002||KHL||Nizhny Novgorod|
|Eric Knodel||2009||NCAA||New Hampshire|
|Anton Stralman||2005||NHL||NY Rangers|
|Alexander Steen||2002||NHL||St. Louis|
|Carlo Colaiacovo||2001||NHL||St. Louis|
|Antoine Bibeau||2013||QMJHL||Val d'Or|
|Johan Dahlberg||2005||Sweden D2||Ulvo|