Photo: Toronto Maple Leafs' GM Brian Burke, shown here at the 2011 NHL Draft, elected to hang onto his fifth overall pick at the 2012 NHL Draft to select Morgan Rielly (courtesy of Brace Hemmelgarn/Icon SMI)
Although the Toronto Maple Leafs and their GM, Brian Burke, were presented with trade options for their fifth overall selection at the 2012 NHL Draft, they elected to instead hang onto the pick to choose defenseman Morgan Rielly of the WHL's moose Jaw Warriors.
Photo: The Toronto Maple Leafs surprised some NHL Draft observers with their selection of Morgan Rielly with the fifth pick overall (courtesy of Jeanine Leech/Icon SMI)
Like Alex Galchenyuk, who was drafted ahead of him in the first round of the 2012 NHL Draft, Morgan Rielly missed a good portion of his first draft-eligible season as the result of an injury. But just as the Montreal Canadiens convinced themselves that Galchenyuk was fully healed, so too did the Toronto Maple Leafs with regard to Rielly's injury, grabbing the offensive defenseman with the fifth pick overall in this draft.
Photo: Toronto Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke chats with the second of his two first round picks at the 2011 NHL Draft, defenseman Stuart Percy of the newly named Mississauga Steelheads (courtesy of Brace Hemmelgarn/Icon SMI)
After four years at the helm as the Toronto Maple Leafs
GM, a fifth overall draft choice at the 2012 NHL Draft
isn't likely the spot Brian Burke had planned on making a selection at this point in his stewardship. But, due to a mid-season collapse, the Maple Leafs have the opportunity to add another key building block to an ongoing system rebuild as the team continues it's quest to return to the NHL playoffs.
Photo: Greg McKegg (92) was the lone prospect to represent the Leafs at the 2012 Memorial Cup. (Terry Wilson/CHL Images)
It's been a long time since a team in Toronto has played meaningful hockey in the Spring months. The Toronto Marlies have changed those fortunes this season with a strong year that has translated into a lengthy post-season run that has seen the club play in the Calder Cup finals. Led by a handful of solid prospects, the Toronto Maple Leafs hope the recent post-season run by the Marlies will translate into more NHL ready players as soon as next season.
Sniper Chris Kreider recently joined the Rangers for their extended 2012 playoff run. Kreider has been one of the Rangers top prospects since he was drafted in in 2009. (Rich Kane/Icon SMI)
Below is the middle third of Hockey's Future NHL Organizational rankings as voted by the Hockey's Future staff. To determine the ranking, each team's entire prospect pool was taken into consideration. For reference, just the top five prospects are listed. To be eligible, a prospect must meet HF's prospect criteria. The rankings are done twice each season, in the fall and spring.