The 2013 NHL Draft kicked off a busy summer for the Toronto Maple Leafs. The organization entered the draft looking to fill a variety of holes both on the pro team and in their prospect system. The prospect system (not unlike the parent club), lacked depth down the middle and between the pipes. There was also an abundance of strong bottom-six forwards, but the system lacked players with the potential for top-six roles.
General Manager Dave Nonis was able to fill a variety of holes with his selections at the draft as well as through trade. He brought in center Dave Bolland from the Chicago Blackhawks for the 51st and 117th pick in 2013, as well as a fourth round pick in 2014. This move comes just as the dust was beginning to settle from the Jonathan Bernier acquisition a week prior. The Maple Leafs shipped forward Matt Frattin, goaltender Ben Scrivens, and a second-round selection in 2014 or 2015 to the Los Anageles Kings for Bernier.
In the end, the Maple Leafs came away from the draft with five selections.
A rookie this past year in the QMJHL, Frederik Gauthier had a bit of an up-and-down year that saw his production dip in the second-half of the season. He was able to help his stock towards the end of the hockey season when he represented Canada at the recent World U-18 Championships. With Rimouski, Gauthier scored 22 goals and added 38 assists while being an impressive plus-22. In the playoffs, he started to sputter a bit, only managing two assists through six games. He bounced back with his play for Canada at the U-18 where he scored one goal and added three assists.
With Gauthier, the Maple Leafs have a strong center who can contribute at both ends of the ice. Currently, he excels in the defensive side of the game thanks to his size, skating ability, and tenacious work ethic away from the puck. Gautheir's focus next season will be developing his offensive game. While he was able to produce at nearly a point-per-game clip as a rookie this past season, his offensive game is not yet seen as a strong point.
Hockey's Future shot video of the Maple Leafs top pick, Frederik Gauthier, and GM Dave Nonis at the 2013 NHL Draft. You can view their extended remarks in this HF video.
With their second selection, the Maple Leafs went into their own back yard to pick center prospect Carter Verhaeghe. The Waterdown, Ontario native completed his second season with the Niagara IceDogs, where he experienced positive developments in his offensive game. The 17-year-old forward scored 18 goals and 26 assists through 67 games. His strong OHL season helped him earn a spot on the international stage as a member of Team Canada's championship U-18 team.
Verhaeghe will have an opportunity to step into a prominent role next season with the IceDogs as the team is set to lose a large portion of the team to graduation. He is known more for his offensive game as he is a slick offensive talent when he wants to be. Consistency in his overall game continues to be a work in progress, but should improve with experience. Verhaeghe is an August birthday, which makes him among the youngest talents available in the draft. This also factors into his lack of physical development, where his game should improve as he continues to grow into his body.
Fabrice Herzog, RW, Zug (NLA)
5th round, 142nd Overall
Height: 6'2, Weight: 176
An interesting selection from Switzerland, the Maple Leafs nabbed power-forward prospect Fabrice Herzog in the fifth round.
Herzog spent the last year bouncing between Switzerland's top pro league and their elite junior league. In the junior league, He put up an impressive 28 goals and 45 points in 32 games. Herzog's point totals allowed him to squeak into the top-10 in league scoring. His effort at the junior level earned him a 20 game stint with Zug at the men's level. As the youngest member of the team, Herzog scored two goals and added two assists in 20 games.
Herzog is described as a power forward type winger who uses his speed to create offensive opportunities. He has shown a willingness to crash the net which should make him a more formidable player as he gains strength. At only 176 pounds, Herzog is very thin at the moment and will be an area of focus over the next few seasons. Herzog will be joining the Quebec Remparts of the QMJHL next season where his style should allow him to comfortably adapt into a top-six role. Playing among his peers should give Maple Leafs management a better understanding of what type of player they have in Herzog.
Antoine Bibeau, G, Prince Edward Island Rocket (QMJHL)
6th round, 172nd Overall
Height: 6'2, Weight: 198
A second-year eligible goaltender, Bibeau really came onto the scene in the second-half of the 2012-13 season. The 19-year-old appeared in 46 games for the PEI Rocket where he managed a solid 2.81 goals against average to go along with an impressive .911 save percentage. His strong play saw him steal the starting position away from Maxime Lagace (DAL).
Bibeau's play down the stretch earned him a spot on Central Scoutings final list for goaltenders. Bibeau was ranked ninth among North American Goaltenders in the final rankings. He is a big goalie at 6'2 who uses his size well and has a good amount of athleticism. With the graduation of Garret Sparks from the junior ranks, Bibeau provides much needed goaltending depth at that level.
Andreas Johnson, RW, Frolunda Jrs (SuperElit)
7th round, 202nd Overall
Height: 5'10, Weight: 172
With their last selection the Maple Leafs swung for the fences by picking Andreas Johnson. The 18-year-old from Sweden is a small, stocky forward who plays an aggressive, high-skill style which has made him an effective player so far in his career.
Johnson spent the past season with Frolunda – the club that his father, Jonas Johnson, captained for five seasons between 2003 and 2008. He played primarily with Frolunda's U-20 team in the top junior league in Sweden, but also saw a short stint in the SHL (formerly known as the SEL). Through 42 games with Frolunda U-20, Johnson finished first in team scoring with 23 goals and 31 assists. Through his short seven game stint with Frolunda, Johnson scored once. He also saw five games with Frolunda in the playoffs, but did not record a point.
Johnson is a long-term project who will play in Sweden for the next few seasons.