The Toronto Maple Leafs have one second round pick in the upcoming draft, and they got it in the Dion Phaneuf trade.
So what do you get at 59? Last year St. Louis took goalie prospect Evan Fitzpatrick. The year before that, Anaheim took Julius Nättinen, who currently has four points in three games for Windsor in the Memorial Cup. He was their sixth highest in points this season.
In 2012, the Rangers took Cristoval Nieves. A player most excellently nicknamed Boo Nieves. He is a very good AHL forward in the grinder vein. The year before that, the Panthers took defender Rasmus Bengtsson, who I’ve never heard of, and who looks like he’s a long way from even AHL-level play.
You get the idea. The low second round is where you start finding decent, but not necessarily sure thing, goalies and coin flip skaters. You might get a grinder or a late bloomer. You might get lucky and get more than that if you’ve found someone other teams are overlooking. You might get a guy who fades into obscurity in a couple of years.
Who might the Leafs look at there? The list is very long. The list at 17th overall is absurdly long this year. By the time you get to nearly the third round consensus is out the window.
TSN’s January rankings had a college defender named Luke Martin at 59. Future Considerations has Alex Formenton, a forward on the London Knights, at 59 in their spring rankings. If you want a goalie, they have Ian Scott, the NHL Central Scouting number three N.A. Goalie, at 60.
Better known goalie prospects are generally ranked a little higher, but Olle Eriksson Ek, who had a great Hlinka tournament and was very good in the Swedish TV-Pucken, is ranked a little lower at 73 by FC. And yes, he’s Joel’s brother. Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen, an HPK goalie, is at 40 on their list, and if anyone drops in the draft, it’s goalies.
Last year, the Leafs had pick number 57. They used it on Carl Grundström, who no one seems unhappy with and who looks to be AHL ready right now--maybe a little more than AHL ready. If the Leafs do a good job of scouting, and make good choices, we could see another second rounder with promise like that.