A brief chat with 2011 Leafs first rounder Stuart Percy

Stuart Percy was drafted in the first round, 25th overall by the Toronto Maple Leafs in the 2011 Entry Draft out of the Mississauga-St. Michael’s Majors. After missing much of the OHL season last season due to injury, Percy played on the Toronto Marlies’ extended playoff run.

He’s returned to Mississauga, the team is now called the Steelheads, this fall, as the team captain. TLN caught up with him briefly after Mississauga’s Friday night home opener, a 3-0 loss to the Kitchener Rangers.

When I first saw you play it was back during the Memorial Cup and you were more of a stay at home guy. It looked like you were taking a few more chances offensively tonight, is that something the Leafs have got you to work on?

Stuart Percy: Yeah, I think in the Memorial Cup and in the playoff run there I was trying to keep it sound and safe back there, but in the regular season I think I’m going to try and make a couple more rushes here and there when I can. I saw a couple of chances today and took them like I did, you know if it’s there I’m going to try, but I’m not going to force it too much.

I think last spring in the playoff run I think I just stayed back and helped my own zone. You know, move the puck up like I’m so good at. Here I think I can work on my offensive game and get a bit more confidence in that so I can develop it into my pro game hopefully down the road.

Disappointing with the lack of an NHL training camp this year. Is there anything from that you could have worked on there that you don’t get to?

It’s always great to get out there with those kinds of calibre of players, you know they’re so good, they’re professionals, and just to get on the ice with them it makes you that much better so it’s unfortunate that I missed that, but I had the chance in the spring to be with the Marlies.

The Leafs like my game, they just want me to get bigger, stronger, faster, they just say to lead that team in Mississauga and be that guy that drives the bus.

What about your size? When you were up with the pros you were one of the smaller guys. How much of a difference does that make?

It makes a big difference. They’re really strong on the puck and they’re really good at puck management. It’s just something I need to be contained with and try and keep my guy and hold him to the bad ice. I think I did that well up there. I’m going to try to get stronger, but I think I’ll be fine.

You’re not in camp right now, but are you working with the Leafs in any capacity to work with them, work out with them, skating or strength-wise?

I keep in touch with the player development guy, Jim Hughes, so I talk to him usually once a week and I’m trying to get back on the ice with their skating coach Barb Underhill and work it through my schedule since I’m so close to here in Mississauga, so hopefully down the road I’ll get on the ice with her during the season.

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  • Percy looks good in OHL action so far.

    My only complaint is that he doesn’t play with enough intensity at times by which I mean that he’ll make a lazy pass or do a bad job of moving guys away from the slot. However his puck poise is excellent and it’s been cool to watch him develop from a defensive dman to a guy who jumps into the offense with ease.

    I would like to see him play a bit meaner though and use his body more, he’s definetely bigger now than he was when he was drafted and although I don’t expect him to be a physical dman in the NHL, time for him to throw his weight around his goalie’s net in the OHL.