As of right now, there is no telling when this year’s NHL Draft will take place. When the NHL Draft does take place, here are some players the scouts think the Maple Leafs should take. I would like to thank Tony Ferrari and Josh Tessler from dobberprospects.com for their scouting reports.
One of the players that seem to be sliding under the radar within some NHL circles is left winger Martin Chromiak. The Slovakian forward joined the Kingston Frontenac (OHL) in December. This was after he was shockingly cut from the Slovakian World Junior team. He seemed to feel slighted by his home country and decided that playing with 15-year-old phenom Shane Wright was a better choice for his draft year. Much better than toiling away in the mediocre Slovakian men’s league.
He was the perfect compliment to Wright. He was able to provide a skilled and smart linemate who could keep up with the OHL superstar Wright. Not every player can play with the big boys, but Chromiak has the hands, vision, and finishing ability to perfectly complement a star forward. While he likely won’t drive a line on his own, you can imagine Chromiak filling in with one of the Leafs offensive stars. His 33 points in 22 games in the OHL helped prove that the Slovakian forward is a force at the junior level.
Stranges is one of the best skaters in this draft class. When he skates across the offensive zone, he shows off beautiful edgework and strong side-to-side movement. Unfortunately, Stranges’ skating superseeds his offensive production. In his rookie season, he put up a solid campaign which made scouts/analysts believe that more was in store for 2019-20. But, that was not the case.
His offensive production while higher in 2019-20 was still not where scouts/analysts thought it would be. The 5’10 175 pound forward had 19 goals and 21 assists for 40 points in 61 games this season. Stranges reminds me quite a bit of Jeremy Bracco. Similar prospects. If the Maple Leafs and the London Knights can help elevate his offensive game, he could be a great NHLer.
A star at the Hlinka in August and a solid season with Tolpar Ufa in the MHL (Russian junior league), Alexander Pashin could be a steal in the second round. His offensive instincts and creativity allow him to make magic on the ice at times. He stays engaged in all three zones and doesn’t get a ton of credit for his 200-foot game. He is more than competent defensively in a league where defensive play is optional at best.
Pashin is on the diminutive side (5’8”, 155lbs), but that hasn’t scared the Maple Leafs away in the past. It should not scare them here either with the uber-talented Pashin. His hands can marvel and his release is lightning quick and has pinpoint accuracy. He has quite a late birthday (July 28, 2002) for this draft class which presents the opportunity for further development at an age where 10 months can make a massive difference. The shifty and creative forward has the skill to be a top-15 talent in this draft class but he will need to add some weight, get stronger and continue to prove that his size is nothing more than a number.
At the beginning of the year, I flirted with the idea of Foudy being a first round selection. Consistency has been an issue though. When you watch Foudy, there are games where his playmaking, skating and shot/pass selection truly shine. But, then you will watch games where Foudy’s playmaking is far from sound and his decision making seems off. For example, there are games in which Foudy will have open ice to the crease in the slot and yet will pass back to another forward on the edge of the perimeter. Decision-making needs improvement and if he can be consistent day-in, night-out, he can be an effective top six forward down the road.
Final Thoughts on These Draft Choices
It is uncertain when or how the NHL Draft will take place this year. One thing is for certain though, one of these four young men could become a Toronto Maple Leaf. The Maple Leafs have made great strides in developing young talent over the years. I believe that if the Maple Leafs were to draft any of these four players, they have a good enough system to develop them properly.
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