Toronto's 2005 1st round pick (Tuukka Rask) to Boston for....Andre....w.... Ray...croft...
Today I wanted to take a look back at how the 2006 draft has shaped, both directly and indirectly, the makeup of the Leafs as we know them today. Whether it was by draft pick or trade, the events of June 24th, 2006 played a significant role in where we stand today. Take a look.
- Ah yes, one of the worst hockey decisions I've ever been alive to see. When John Ferguson Jr. traded their 1st round pick from the previous year for the Calder Trophy winning Andrew Raycroft, he could not have imagined things would have turned out so badly. In 91 games for the blue and white, Raycroft went 39-34-14 with a save percentage of .885 and a god awful Goals Against Average of 3.46, while Rask developed into a #1 goalie worthy of note with the Bruins (before Tim Thomas became immortal, and sensitive to kryptonite). After being bought out on June 27, 2008, Raycroft was signed by the Avs - where he started off going 9-1 before finishing 12-16 (go figure) - and has spent time with the Canucks and now the Stars. To put things simply, Raycroft surrendered the starting spot to Vesa Toskala, who went on to post a 62-54-20 record with a 3.22 GAA. I'm pretty sure I don't need to say another word about Vesa Toskala, ever.
Round 1: 13th overall - C Jiri Tlusty
- The highlights of his playing time in Toronto include: allowing everybody to see pictures of his penis. In 74 games Tlusty scored 10 goals and 20 points before being traded to Carolina, where he is playing at more or less the same clip, for the rights to 2009 1st rounder Phillipe Paradis. More on why that move was important a little later.
Round 2: 44th overall - C Nikolai Kulemin
- One of the better draft choices in recent memory, Kulemin, at only 24, is having a career year. As part of the "Means of Production" line with Mikhail Grabovski and Clarke MacArthur, Kulemin already has surpassed his career-highs in goals (with 17) and as of this writing has tied his career high in points (36, in just 51 games). He has a great shot and undeniable chemistry with Grabo and the King, which should help his game improve even more long-term. He has a great upside and could establish himself as a true Top-6 forward in the coming years.
3rd round pick (Tony Lagerstrom) to Chicago for 2 4th round Picks: 99th overall (via Columbus) - G James Reimer (aka Optimus Reim, Reimtime Deliverance) and 111th overall (via Colorado) - D Korbinian Holzer
- In hindsight, this could turn out to be a fine little move for the Buds. Korbinian Holzer is currently playing well for the Toronto Marlies and could serve the Leafs well in the future. Oh yeah, out of this deal they also got a cat named James Reimer, who has been setting the internet on fire with his play. In only 9 games this season, Reimer has 1 less win than Jonas Gustavsson has in 23 games (I know, its certainly not all The Monster's fault) and has put up insane numbers so far in his young career (1.96 GAA, .940 sv%, first Leafs shutout in 362 days). Hopefully, this is a sign of things to come for the young netminder, but given that he has taken to the pressure so well and has outplayed two big name goalies gives me confidence that he will be a great story for the Leafs for years to come.
- Few Leafs in recent memory have been as fast or as exciting on the rush as Viktor Stalberg, which is actually kinda sad... anyway moving on. Stalberg could potentially turn into a force in time but as Jim Ross once said, "You can't buy groceries with potential". Stalberg scored 14 points in 40 games with the Leafs last season before being shipped (along with Christopher DiDominico and the aforementioned Phillipe Paradis) to Chicago for two-way forward Kris Versteeg.Opinions vary in regards to this trade, largely due to Kris Versteeg's +/- numbers this season. Offensively however, Versteeg is on pace to beat his totals from his last season with the Blackhawks, and has put together quite the line with Colby Armstrong and Darryl "Who the fuck needs a nose" Boyce in recent weeks. Stalberg however, is still a work in progress. Time will tell who came out on top in this trade. I'm missing something... Oh yeah, fuck Bill Sweatt.
Reimer, Kulemin, Versteeg and the rest of the Leafs are in Buffalo tonight and here's to 3 in a row.