First Round Targets: Jeremy Bracco

If
I told you that there was a player in this draft that outscored Patrick
Kane’s production in the US U18 team by 26 points, what would you say?
What if I told you he is likely to be available in the latter half of the
first round, and the Leafs could draft him at 24?
That’s
right, Jeremy Bracco, who put up 94 points this season, is pegged as a
pick in the latter stages of the 1st round (or possibly even 2nd). He is a
skilled, scoring machine. Skill that should make him a top 15 pick…but
it won’t.
Bracco’s
“problem” is his size. At 5’9 and 172 pounds, Bracco is, well, small.
And while Tyler Johnson single-handedly changed everyone’s thoughts on
small players, size bias still exists – and not without merit. But
Bracco’s absurd skill and strong defensive play could result in someone
getting an absolute draft steal.

The Eye-Test

ESPN’s Corey Pronman, who has him ranked 16th, praises Bracco’s skating and says “When you combine his skating with his very high skill level, he’s a nightmare for defenders to check.” He continues: “Bracco is quite solid defensively, and in my viewings has been effective
killing penalties and as a short-handed scoring threat.”
Future Considerations has him ranked 22nd and say “A very gifted passer who
sees lanes develop and is patient to hit them. Will take a beating if it
means he is putting his team in scoring position. Wears his heart on
his sleeve and does not quit no matter the circumstances.”
Skill PLUS compete level? I already like him more than my ex favourite player Phil Kessel.
McKeen’s
have Bracco at 47 (!) and say he “threads the needle on passes in close
and also has a quick shot to surprise goalies .. he works hard to get
into scoring lanes and does not shy from danger playing with a brash,
colourful attitude.”

Oh and most importantly, I have Bracco at 19.

So in conclusion – puck skills, gifted playmaker, but also competitive as heck and will go to the dirty areas.

Does he fit in the Leafs radar?

Yes.
He has to. Dubas has talked about hitting a homerun with 24th overall,
and Bracco is exactly the type of player you can swing for the fences
with. He’s the total package, in a smaller-than-ideal frame. Sounds like
the type of market inefficiency the Leafs need to take advantage of.

And they’ll likely be able to next Friday.
  • Gary Empey

    Sounds a lot like Kozun actually. He may be a good depth winger on a some Swedish team a few years down the road. Or he could be Gallagher, Johnson or Kane. Definitely a gamble. But, indeed, as you say, Dumbass and co. sure like to play the numbers…