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.
|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.