A little home cooking appears to agree with St. Thomas-born Greg McKegg. Playing in front of friends and family in nearby London, the John Labatt Centre is quickly becoming a place where, despite the increased spotlight of playing at home, the Leafs’ prospect continues to shine.
McKegg starred in the Erie Otters’ recent 5-3 loss to the Knights, being involved in all three goals and continuing his march towards the OHL scoring crown. Ten games into the season, McKegg leads the league with eight goals and 11 assists. Yet this performance is just another in a series of impressive moments of late for the 62nd overall pick in the 2009 NHL entry draft.
The six-foot-tall winger impressed at the Leafs-hosted rookie camp held in September in London. He followed that up by scoring a goal in an NHL preseason game between the Leafs and Philadelphia Flyers on Sept. 23, 2010, also hosted at the John Labatt Centre.
“Any time you get to be on the ice with the caliber of guys that I was on with, it’s an awesome experience and I learned a lot,” McKegg said. “It was just a lot of fun to out out there with those guys, meet new people, and get to learn from that coaching staff.”
The Toronto Maple Leafs entered the 2010 draft with six selections, and after remaining quiet on day one, GM Brian Burke made a flurry of trades on day two.
After the Maple Leafs 62nd selection, the GM moved a third round pick in 2012 to Los Angeles for the 79th overall selection in 2010. Burke also moved down in the draft in the fourth round, dealing the 112th selection to the Washington Capitals for the 116th and 146th selections.
In the fifth round, where Burke had amassed three selections, he moved the 122nd pick to Anaheim for energy forward Mike Brown.
Finally, Burke moved his last selection in the seventh round, the 202nd selection, to the Edmonton Oilers for a fifth round selection in 2011.
After all the maneuvering on day two of the draft, the Maple Leafs came away seven new prospects.
In 2009, a lot of people underestimated the draft-eligible Ryan O’Reilly. He played on the Erie Otters, a low-profile team. But he went on to stick in the NHL as an 18-year-old for the Colorado Avalanche and make some pundits and scouts look a bit foolish.
A very similar thing seems to be happening again this year, this time with goal scorer Greg McKegg. He has 30 goals and 37 assists in 56 games, but he’s not well known and not considered a top prospect for the 2010 draft. He’s rated just 94th among North American Skaters by Central Scouting, and to add insult to injury, his name was spelled wrong on the list.
McKegg looks a bit slight on the ice, though he’s 6’0, 190 pounds. And he didn’t help himself to get on radar screens last season, with just 18 points in 64 games as a rookie for Erie.
But McKegg is slippery, can get up ice in a hurry and can put the puck in the net. He plays for a tough coach who stresses the little things, and McKegg passes muster. His +12 is an indicator of his defensive ability. Robbie Ftorek is happy to sing McKegg’s praises.
"Kegger came into camp and he was in great shape and then he hurt himself," Ftorek said in early February. "He’s still not skating as well as he did in training camp. I wish the scouts could have seen him in training camp becaus Read more»