PITTSBURGH, PA - JUNE 23: Dominic Toninato, 126th overall pick by the Toronto Maple Leafs, poses for a portrait during Day Two of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft at Consol Energy Center on June 23, 2012 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
The Toronto Maple Leafs used their fifth round selection to pick Dominic Toninato in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft. Toninato is a 6", 161 lb. left handed centre from Duluth, Minnesota who has been primarily playing high school hockey to this point in his career. He was selected by the Fargo Force in the 14th round 204th overall in the 2011 USHL entry draft - right after a half English, half Kiwi kid born in London, England named Liam Stewart (He was drafted after an English-Kiwi??).
*If you're wondering, Stewart actually played in the WHL this past year for the Spokane Chiefs, and my comments above really aren't intended as a slight on his heritage.* Editor's Note: Steve has, in the past, repeatedly told me of his disdain for Kiwis. I've always liked you folks.
Toninato captained the top ranked high school team in Minnesota, Duluth East - who have won 4 straight Minnesota state titles - 3 of them during Toninato's time with the team and he's committed to the University of Minnesota Duluth when he makes the jump from the USHL - where he will join Fargo full time for the upcoming season. His father also skated for UMD so there are family ties and blood lines at work here.
Here is a highlight package of their 2012 Championship game vs. Andover from this past season, for Toninato's goals (he scored two) fast forward to the five minute mark (you can also observe his not so energetic back check in the 2nd period highlights):
Toninato finished the Minnesota HS season with 30 goals and 67 points in 28 regular season and playoff games. He also played on the Team North squad (a sort of Minnesota HS selects team) and posted an additional 10 goals and 25 points in 24 games against some stiffer competition. Overall that gives him 40 goals and 91 points in 52 regular season and playoff games this past year in Minnesota HS hockey - which is quite competitive.
Toninato is considered a two-way player that skates well but he needs to add bulk to his frame as he is undersized at the moment. He's a project in terms of his physical development and the fact that he is committed to go the NCAA route is probably a plus as far as the Leafs are concerned. It is unlikely we'll hear or see much regarding Toninato on behalf of the Leafs for at least 3 years, if not the full 5.
Leaf fans may note the fact that this is a couple of years now the team has been going to the well in Minnesota, with Toninato joining the likes of Wayzata High's Tony Cameranesi (5th rd, 130th), and Edina High's Max Everson (7th rd, 203rd).