Director of Amateur Scouting Dave Morrison’s has been with the Toronto Maple Leafs since 2004 and in his current role since 2006. Because the Leafs have quite clearly not been exactly the NHL’s most talented team in that timeframe, it’s natural to wonder exactly what’s going on in their scouting department.
Prior to the 2013 draft, our own Justin Fisher wrote a piece examining the history of Dave Morrison’s draft tendencies, looking at the leagues where Morrison often decided to cast his scouting rod
Some highlights from that article include:
“The Leafs have selected 24 Canadians and 12 Americans in the past seven drafts.
That’s 36 North Americans, plus six Swedes, two Germans, and a handful of other players all from different European nations.
It’s worth noting that Sweden appears to be the Leafs’ European nation of choice, likely thanks to the presence of the much-respected Thommie Bergman on their European scouting staff.”
22 of their 50 selections during Morrison’s tenure came out of the CHL (OHL, WHL or QMJHL), while another four came from either the BCHL or AJHL. Beyond that, five players have come from the USHL and the USA Hockey National Development Program. Another five came from US High Schools.
The OHL came as the Leafs’ fishing hole of choice, with 28% of their selections from 2006-2012 being from Ontario’s top junior league.
In the two drafts since, the Leafs have taken a total of eleven players (nine forwards, a defenceman and a goalie), none of which have played an NHL game. The breakdown of this eleven is a little more interesting, with three Swedish players (William Nylander, Andreas Johnson and Pierre Engvall), two players from the USHL (JJ Piccinich and Dakota Joshua), one player from the USPHL (Nolan Vesey), one player from Switzerland (Fabrice Herzog), and four players from the Canadian Hockey League, (Frederik Gauthier and Antoine Bibeau, QMJHL, Carter Verhaeghe, OHL, and Rinat Valiev, WHL, who hails from Russia).
It should be noted that Morrison himself was born in Toronto, grew up in Kingston, and played three years of junior hockey in the OHL. Whether that bias seeps into his scouting is unknown, but it wouldn’t be the most irrational suggestion to think that he might have an inherent favouring of players close to home if available.
At the end of the day, it’s impossible to know exactly which version of Dave Morrison and friends will show up on Draft Weekend, with a chance that the new look, OHL-heavy front office of the Leafs will be replicated by their draft choices.
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