With their third round pick, 82nd overall, the Toronto Maple Leafs selected Niagara Ice Dogs centre Carter Verhaeghe.
Known for his two-way play and penalty killing abilities, Verhaeghe scored 18 goals and 26 assists in 67 games this season, and won a gold medal with Canada’s U18 World Championship squad (where he played with Toronto’s first rounder Frederik Gauthier).
Verhaeghe’s 44 points were good for fourth in team scoring. You can expect that number to jump when New York Islanders prospect Ryan Strome turns pro next season and more responsibility falls on Verhaeghe’s shoulders.
Drafting Verhaeghe in the third round can pretty safely be classified as ‘going off the board’. The Watertown, Ontario native was ranked 102nd amongst North American skaters by NHL Central Scouting.
Brock Otten of the OHL Prospects blog offers some encouraging words for Verhaeghe saying "he’s a very hard worker in all three zones who knows how to play with the puck… effective along the boards and works on hard on the back check… Niagara will need a new captain and I believe he’s a serious candidate."
If he wants to make the NHL however, Verhaeghe has some work to do. As Hockey Prospect’s 2013 NHL Draft Black Book points out, "his most glaring weakness at the moment is his skating, which is an awkward style to say the least."
Stay tuned for further profiles on the the rest of the new Leafs prospects, including winger Fabrice Herzog and goaltender Antoine Bibeau, coming up in the near future.