Maple Leafs 2010 draft review

By John-Eric Iannicello

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.

First the Leafs traded prospect Jimmy Hayes to the Chicago Blackhawks, uniting him with his brother Kevin Hayes, who was drafted 24th overall a day prior.

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.

Brad Ross
, LW – Portland Winterhawks (WHL)
2nd round, 43rd overall
6’1, 175lbs

It was reported the Leafs had Brad Ross pegged as a first-round talent, and after he slipped into their hands in the second, they could not pass on the opportunity to select him.

Considered one of the hardest players to play against in the WHL, Ross brings energy and grit to the mix, which sometimes makes it easy for his offensive prowess to be overlooked. An in-your-face forward who is relentless on the ice, his agitating presence helps create offense for his linemates. He thrives in the role and should continue to frustrate opponents at the junior level. He will need to add strength to carry it over to the next level though.

Ross played in 71 games for the Winterhawks, registering 27 goals, 41 assists, a +22 rating, and 203 penalty minutes. In the playoffs, the 18-year-old posted two goals, seven assists, and 19 penalty minutes. He also played for Team Cherry at the 2010 CHL Top Prospects Game.

Should he continue to develop at the rate he has been, Ross has the potential to be a super-pest with good all-around ability.

Greg McKegg, C – Erie Otters (OHL)
3rd round, 62nd overall
6’0, 190lbs

Playing on Erie’s top line with Zack Torquato and Mike Cazzola, Greg McKegg had a breakout season for the Otters in 2009-10, scoring 37 goals and posting 85 points through 67 games. He also went from a -13 rating in 2008-09 to a +18 rating in 2009-10. All while dealing with a sprained ACL in the preseason and spending most of the year working to get back up to speed. In the playoffs he played in four games for the Otters, picking up two goals and one assist against the powerhouse Windsor Spitfires.

Capable of lining up at center and wing, McKegg is an offensive catalyst with a good mind for the game. He excelled on the special teams for Erie this past season scoring 16 of his 37 goals on the power-play. The forward has deceptive hands and the capacity to score goals in a variety of ways. Although not an overly physical player, McKegg does not shy away from contact.

McKegg has top-six potential, and while he has put up great numbers at the OHL level this past season, it is unlikely that he will make the Maple Leafs as an 18-year-old out of camp. Two more seasons in the OHL is not out of the question, but his position with the club will be re-evaluated after the 2010-11 season.

Sondre Olden , RW – MODO J20 (SWE)
3rd round, 79th overall
6’3, 172lbs

Norwegian Sondre Olden made the move from his home country to Sweden’s junior league in 2009-10. Initially with MODO J18, Olden dominated the competition scoring 11 goals and 15 assists in only eight games. He also continued his domination of the U18 circuit at the international level, scoring a mind-blowing 22 points in five games with Norway. He was even a part of Norway’s U20 team as a 17-year-old and put up solid numbers in three goals and one assist through five games.

Later, as a member of MODO J20, Olden was almost as productive, finishing third on the team in scoring. He was by far the most productive 17-year-old on a team led by a large number of 19-year-old players. He scored only seven goals, but assisted on 20 others for 27 points in 32 games.

Olden is a player with great size, but who at the moment is extremely lanky. He moves very well for his size and is a threat at all three forward positions. The 17-year-old is also an effective two-way player.

Far from a finished product, Olden needs to add significant strength and weight to his frame, and improve his shot.

As one of the youngest players in the 2010 draft he will need some time to grow into his body and is multiple years away before his development can be re-evaluated. At the moment he should be considered a project with the potential for high payout.

Petter Granberg
, D – Skellefteå J20 (SWE)
4th round, 116th overall
6’3, 200lbs

A defensive defender with very good size, Petter Granberg has both defensive acumen and a strong first-pass. He plays a very smart defensive game and is rarely caught out of position. He also does a very good job containing opposition forwards in the defensive zone due to his large wingspan and solid positioning.

As a member of Skelleftea in the J20 SuperElit league, Granberg scored two goals and seven assists for nine points in 40 games. He also picked up one goal in four playoff games. In the U-18 World Junior Championships, he had one assist in six games for Sweden

Compared in style to current Maple Leaf defender Carl Gunnarsson, Granberg is said to have a bit more of a physical edge to his game. He is expected to become an even more dominant defender as he grows into his large frame. Like Olden, Granberg is among the youngest drafted in 2010.

He has a contract in place with Skelleftea that lasts through 2012-2013 and will likely fulfill it. He should receive a full-time role in the SEL for the up-coming season which would aid in his development.

Sam Carrick, C – Brampton Battalion (OHL)
5th round, 144th overall
6’0, 188lbs

A player selected right out of the Maple Leafs backyard, Sam Carrick is not overly big but surprisingly strong on his skates. He has great two-way ability and plays a physical and fearless game on the ice.

Offensively, Carrick can be very dangerous with the puck in both scoring and playmaking. Consistency can be an issue however as the 18-year-old often tries to do too much. He is at his best when he plays a simple, yet energized two-way game. A player who exudes character, Carrick is also not afraid to drop the gloves despite not being the best of fighters.

In his second season with Brampton, the center saw his ice-time increase as he began to establish himself in a top-six role. He was second in team scoring with 21 goals and 21 assists in 66 games. A great accomplishment considering Brampton was the lowest scoring team in the league with only 167 goals scored.

Carrick was a key player for Brampton this past season and should soon become one of the faces of the Battalion organization.

Daniel Brodin
, LW – Djurgården (SEL)
5th round, 146th overall
6’1, 172lbs

After being passed over in both 2008 and 2009, the Maple Leafs selected the 20-year-old forward in the fifth round of the 2010 entry draft.

Daniel Brodin is a high energy winger who brings a ton of tenacity and speed each game he plays. He is neither intimidated easily nor afraid to battle in the dirty areas of the ice. Likely never to be depended on for his offensive ability, Brodin could be a quality checking line forward with some added strength.

Brodin split the 2009-10 season between Djurgardens’ J20 team and the Elite squad. In 20 games with the junior affiliate, he posted five goals, two assists, and 12 penalty minutes. In 30 games for the Elite squad, the forward tallied two goals, three assists, and 26 penalty minutes. In 16 playoff games for the Elite squad, Brodin picked up no points and two penalty minutes. He was also selected to play for Sweden‘s WJC Under-20 squad, where he netted three goals and added two assists for five points.

At 20 years old and with a season of SEL play under his belt, Brodin is more NHL ready than the other members of the Leafs 2010 draft class. He is currently under contract with Djurgården for one more season and could join the Toronto organization in 2011-2012.

Josh Nicholls
, C – Saskatoon Blades (WHL)
7th round, 182nd overall
6’2, 172lbs

With their last selection in the 2010 draft, the Maple Leafs selected Saskatoon Blades forward Josh Nicholls, who was ranked 90th by Central Scouting.

An interesting combination of size and speed, what makes Nicholls so valuable is his versatility. A two-way forward who is a solid forechecker with some offensive ability, he can lineup both at center and on the right wing. In 2009-10 he played on the PK for Saskatoon and projects to be that type of forward at the pro level.

In his second season with the Blades, Nicholls posted 18 goals and 30 assists in 71 games, almost double his total from the previous season. He also posted a +19 rating and finished fifth on his team in scoring.

A long-term project with intriguing upside, the 18-year-old will likely spend the next two seasons in the WHL growing into his frame and continuing to develop his two-way game. Nicholls will have the opportunity to take a prominent offensive role with Saskatoon next year as their two leading scorers no longer have junior eligibility.