2015 NHL Draft: Toronto Maple Leafs draft review

By Ed Dermit

Stephen Desrocher - Oshawa Generals - 2015 Memorial Cup

Photo: Oshawa Generals defenseman and Toronto Maple Leafs prospect Stephen Desrocher celebrated a Memorial Cup win with his Generals’ teammates back in May (courtesy of Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)

 

 

Stephen Desrocher, D, Oshawa Generals (OHL)
6th round, 155th overall
Height: 6-3  Weight: 195 lbs.

A season after being passed over in the 2014 NHL draft, Desrocher showed enough for the Leafs to use a sixth round pick on the big 19-year-old defender. Desrocher possesses traits that make him a unique contrast to other selections targeted by the Leafs in this draft—he is big and is known for his toughness. He also possessed one of the hardest shots in the OHL last season.

Desrocher is not a big point producer, yet his heavy shot from the point and willingness to jump into the play resulted in 15 goals in 86 games between the OHL regular season, playoffs, and the Memorial Cup. Desrocher was especially impressive during the Memorial Cup tournament, where he played top-pairing minutes in a defensive shutdown role.   

The Leafs may feel they know Desrocher more comprehensively than most other NHL teams given that D.J. Smith, his head coach in Oshawa last season, is now an assistant to Maple Leafs head coach Mike Babcock. Expect Desrocher to return to the Generals for another season in the OHL.

Nikita Korostelev, RW, Sarnia Sting (OHL)
7th round, 185th overall
Height: 6-1  Weight: 195 lbs.

If Korostelev becomes an NHL regular, other NHL teams will look back on this seventh round pick as the one that got away. That’s because Korostelev didn’t exactly fly under the radar. He was ranked as a late second, early third round pick by NHL Central Scouting and ISS Hockey respectively. In 2014, he was also selected ninth overall in Russia’s KHL Draft. Korostelev was among the top 10 in average points per game among 2015 draft eligible OHL players. Through 55 games in his second OHL season, he led the Sarnia Sting in goals with 24, and points with 53.

A Russian by birth, Korostelev moved to Canada and played at the highest levels of hockey in the talent-laden Greater Toronto Area, so he is quite accustomed to North American hockey. The Leafs targeted him because of his high-end skill set and hard shot, and he does not shy away from initiating contact. Despite all the positives, there are reasons for falling so far down in the draft, namely his poor skating. Korostelev will return to the OHL next season.

Korostelev met with the media following his selection by the Maple Leafs, with some of his comments being included in this HF video.

Toronto Maple Leafs Team President Brendan Shanahan met with the media towards the end of Day 2 of the NHL Draft, with some of his comments being included in this HF video.

Leafs’ Director of Player Personnel Mark Hunter also took part in a media scrum on Day 2 of the draft, where he talked about several of the players chosen by the Leafs on Day 2. Hunter’s comments are included in this HF video.

 

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