Toronto Maple Leafs at the 2016 draft: The final results

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Photo Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig/USA TODAY SPORTS

The Toronto Maple Leafs completed rounds 2 through 7 of the 2016 NHL Entry draft today, selecting seven forwards, three defencemen, and a goaltender in a draft that has people scratching their heads just a little.

Clicking a player’s name will bring you to their individual selection profile.

Rd # From Pos Player Team League Age Height Weight
1 1 USA C Auston Matthews ZSC Lions NLA 18 6’2 216
2 31 RUS RW Yegor Korshkov Lokomotiv Yarloslavl KHL 19 6’3 179
2 57 SWE LW Carl Grundstrom MODO Hockey SHL 18 6’0 194
3 62 USA G Joseph Woll US National U18 USDP 17 6’3 196
3 72 USA D JD Greenway US National U18 USDP 18 6’4 205
4 92 CAN C Adam Brooks Regina Pats WHL 20 5’10 174
4 101 CAN D Keaton Middleton Saginaw Spirit OHL 18 6’5 234
5 122 RUS LW Vladimir Bobylyov Victoria Royals WHL 19 6’2 205
6 152 USA LW Jack Walker Victoria Royals WHL 19 5’11 179
6 179 CAN D Nicolas Mattinen London Knights OHL 18 6’4 220
7 182 RUS F Nikolai Chebykin MVD Balashikha MHL 18 6’3 209

At first glance, this draft looks interesting for a few reasons. There’s the emphasis on American (a rising development nation) and Russian (historically undervalued) talent. There’s the emphasis on height (eight players at least 6’2). There’s a significant amount of Draft+1 or Draft+2 talent, and a lot of players that can play for their European team, in the NCAA, or in the AHL/ECHL next season.

It doesn’t fit the public analytics narrative, but it fits the “old school” mentality even less. When you look at a second day like this, you have to think that the scouting department and the research and development team are up to something interesting. The question now, however, is are they on to something?

Given the circumstances, it may take some time for us to find out. For now, though, it’s certainly a headscratcher.

  • Capt.Jay

    At first I was thinking Hunter knew something we didn’t with our second pick. Then he took the swede and I thought he was back on track. Then he took the goalie and I thought, ok we need one. Then it became the overager game and I thought… Well, I still don’t know how to put it into words but confusion and disappointment is a start.

    I wonder if the present log jam of mid level prospects meant they could swing for the fences and hope to grab a diamond in the rough.

  • V

    I can’t say I’m disappointed yet. I was a little confused when I first saw most of these picks, however after looking into them, many have a much higher potential upside than their stats dictate.

    Also, a few seem like they could use some extra seasoning. I can also see the 50 contract limit influencing this draft. Giving these guys some extra time before we have to make a decision won’t be a bad thing considering they could use it.

    I’d also like to point out that most of us were wondering about the durocher pick last year. Some of these picks seem similar, and Durocher had one hell of a season (considering where we drafted him) better than most thought.

    I’m willing to give these guys the benefit of the doubt till I can see what they can do in the next two years or so with bigger roles and hopefully some more weight.

    Not saying any of these guys are noris winners or hart winners, but they seem like they could be solid pieces for a cup run.

  • CMpuck

    Love spending a year following prospects for the Leafs to take a list of players where I only really recognize Grundstrom, oh well, they got the size the system was lacking, it’s as if their is a plan in place each draft.

    And whats the over under on the amount of time spent on the next Dangle Podcast concerning a fan finding Tampa’s draft sheet? I say 25 minutes.

  • Newleafs

    The leafs won the draft overall compared to other teams (and even if you take out Matthews from consideration). Koroshov at 31 is better then many of the first round picks before him. Woll is hands down the best goalie in the draft. I personally had Grundstom ranked in the first round in my draft list and so to get him at 57 is a complete steal.

    Also people on twitter are too tough on middleton. His defense and positioning in similar to a young Chara with better skating (and without the offensive upside) but he is a perfect kind of player you want to play beside Gardiner or Rielly.

    Hunter nailed this draft again. Just give it some time to sink in. Right now these “big player” are shunned by teams in favour of small talents as everyone is trying to find the next gaudreau. SO when a player of the caliber of middleton falls in your lap, you draft him everyday of the week.

    • Capt.Jay

      Nobody was trying to find the next Gaudreau in this draft. All the analysis agreed the theme this year appeared to be on the big man.

      Woll was projected as the 5th best goalie available.

      I haven’t seen anywhere where Grundstom was positioned in the mid first round and Kovoshov was projected as a third.

      I think everyone’s disappointment is there seemed to be a lack of patience from the leafs in waiting till those rounds to get their guy.

      I will admit however that not all players develop at the same time as everyone else so there could be a lot to be said for drafting an overager. BUT FIVE OF THEM!!!!!

      • jasken

        What rounds do you think 6th and 7th amongst international players should be drafted? If you got Dalhen at 1st or 2nd round and ignore players ranked higher than him something is wrong in your theory.

        Maybe it’s the bodies of who you trust with your scouting information. Scouts will actually pass by a player for simple attitude, or who their friends are that they hang around. As bad as that might seem “they do judge by the company you keep” is one of the worse things I heard come out of a pro scouts statement. Now with that said Hunter got his info by the same scout that directed him to Soshnikov are you saying that was a bad choice too.

        A little research can help you with that Grundstrom and it’s Korshkov and they were ranked 6-7 in European Skaters so I dont know why Korshkov drops off 20 ranks being right after Grundstom yet Dahlen who was ranked 11 or Borgstrom 9 of European skaters should have went in first round. Interesting logic fill me in on that.

  • Brent Wisken

    Picking a couple of overagers doesn’t bother me. Keep in mind that the league has been discussing increasing the draft age to 19 for a couple of years given that it is hard to predict 18 year old draft picks outside the first round. Also, Rinat Valiev was an overager picked by the Leafs in the 2014 third round, and he is promising.

  • Drapes55

    I think this draft seems very underwhelming to Leaf fans after the mount of skill and speed we picked up last year. By no means did the Leafs “win” the draft this year but if you look at one major weakness the Leafs prospects have is that they lack in size. Babcock is known to have a lineup where he has 1 skilled player, 1 two way player and power forward on each line. Last year we got all those smalish speedy skilled guys but when the playoffs rolled around in the AHL the Marlies got pushed around and were forced to play from the perimeter where theyre speed and skill were eutralized most of the time. With guys like we drafted this year you’ll see more guys standing in front of the net scoring from the dirty areas of the ice allowing guys like Timashov, Dzierkals, Bracco, and Johnson to set up on the half boards and play to their strengths. It wasn’t a flashy draft but I think it will help in the long run.

  • Jeremy Ian

    I actually found this a very interesting draft.

    Past the first round, you are trying to find the talent that others overlook or devalue. Which means you have to draft against the orthodoxy. They did it last year with speed and agility. This year, it’s talent that bloomed late or big guys that got depreciated as the herd turned to “skill” (incidentally, I don’t think any of the big guys they selected were ever debased for lacking skill — just lacking finesse or overall game; but this is the point of developing them right). If you just follow the herd, there’s no gambit.

    If just a couple of these picks turn into solid complements to the core, then we have done very, very well.

    • Capt.Jay

      I think you really put my thoughts into perspective on this draft. You have to remind yourself that the (I’m paraphrasing based on memory of a past article) that getting 2 players out of each draft to play 200 games in the NHL is considered a good draft. Obviously, Matthews will be a lock so we are just hoping that another one of our picks can make it. The top 3 picks all stand reasonable chances so if you assume one of them doesn’t, that’s two right there. If we get another late rounder to pan out, we are above the curve. Let’s just wait and see.

  • V

    I think they hope Koroshov will make the team this year and add some size, so two NHL players from a draft is a success I think.

    Though someone mentioned he is still under contract to his KHL team.-can Lou side step this problem….I think so.

    Picking up over-agers you can see how the player has developed instead of guessing how he will develop .
    As well having many prospects peaking at the same time increases the chance that some of the prospects will become useful NHL players or trade pieces in an accelerated time frame.

  • FlareKnight

    I don’t know what Hunter and company are planning, so I can’t really judge this.

    We know that we got a franchise center which instantly makes this draft a win.

    We also wanted Toronto to take a goalie and they did that. Have more guys in the system developing behind Andersen.

    As to the rest I don’t know. This could be the Leafs deciding that after drafting heavy skill last year they want to balance out the system and the roster. Could be that some of these guys have skill and ability that the scouting services haven’t spotted.

    Some interesting guys like Mattinen who might have gone much higher if he hadn’t been sheltered on an amazing London team and a healthy scratch. About a 6’5 physical dman who has a rocket of a shot.

    And we also got Matthews which is incredible. A franchise center out of this draft is amazing. Now we have to trust that Hunter is as smart as we believe and made some great picks to build towards a consistent and talented NHL roster.

  • Newleafs

    Just a stab at the philosophy here on the overagers, perhaps the anticipation is a influx of guys from the Marlies, so by grabbing some older guys in the mid-rounds you can plug them in right away for the Marlies. On top of that, you got the two USNP players that will go to BC, so that will minimize how many contracts are offered out of this draft class right away. I don’t know, the reality is the Leafs prospect pool is absolutely loaded right now with guys who are on the cusp of contributing, so you can shoot for the moon on developmental guys.

  • Newleafs

    Hunter, Dubas and co have best in NHL analytics that they use this to find market inefficiencies and undervalued assets. They operate in this draft very much like a hedge fund that buys out of favour items (buy low and sell high). A shining example of this is Middleton who looks poor by many box car metrics but obviously using leafs secret analytics they see this guy as the best player available at that point in the draft with tons of upside.

    It is so much better to have a analytics saavy front office that doesn’t make stupid mistakes.

  • Newleafs

    Austin Matthews will turn around the Leafs.

    If you take the past 10 drafts there are 2 players with more than a PPG career. McDavid and P. Kane (the leading scorer last year in the NHL).

    Well, Matthews broke Kane’s scoring record by 15 points at the same age in the NTDP. He also outscored Eichel by 30 points! Eichel is a stud of a player and Matthews smashed his scoring totals. Let’s look at his first season in the NHL: Eichel put up 56 points as a rookie and if you go by the numbers that actually made him one of the top scoring centers in the League as a rookie! That would be amazing except we can expect bigger things from Matthews who projects to be more than a point machine. He’s a two-way player who models himself on the top two-way centers in the League. Expect big things from Matthews, it is a total game changer for the Leafs.

    I actually think that Matthews has been under-hyped amazingly enough. That’s partly due to playing in a league without a lot of direct competition with other prospects and not a lot of players to compare him with. Based on his scoring exploits, he has the potential to be a PPG centerman. 60-70 PTS in year 1 is what I am expecting.

    As for day two, I was really disappointed the Leafs didn’t take DeBrincat, but I believe in Mark Hunter. He seemed to have done a fantastic job last year. I mean think about where Toronto’s prospect system has been ranked after Hunter came aboard. So I find it hard to suddenly believe he lost his “magic” in year 2. I guess we will find out.

  • Gary Empey

    One of the prevailing threads I noticed in this years draft is, everyone taken has above average speed. Keaton Middleton may be the only exception, though I am not 100% sure as I have read two different things on his skating.

    The biggest barrier for an AHL player to make the jump to the NHL is skating. They are a few exceptions but for the most part if you can’t skate well in the NHL, you become a defensive liability.

    Having drafted a lot of big guys who can also skate appears to be part of the strategy.

    This takes one important part, of the later round risk, out of the equation.

    When it comes to trading young prospects, GM’s place a high value on above average skaters.

    Just my thoughts on our draft. I am not sure if anyone else feels the same. Like a lot of fans I was mostly surprised by who they passed over to draft players I never heard of.