MONTREAL — When the Toronto Maple Leafs brass was interviewing its goal potential customers, they would pull up NHL movie and quiz the youngsters.
“It was very great. We would look at a clip from, like, a breakout or a little something. A sizeable perform would take place. The display will go black. And they required to listen to what you considered happened upcoming to consider and exam how you see the sport,” Toronto’s best draft decide Fraser Minten explains.
“It was likely something where by I experienced an advantage over other people — and some of the clips I acknowledged from observing hockey all over the year and understood the outcomes currently. I feel that is type of an place where I’m fantastic at figuring out what is actually going on.”
What’s likely on with the Maple Leafs’ draft tactic is to find large-ceiling players who believe the game as effectively as they play it.
“Especially with the speed of the recreation and what we hope from the players in our procedure, if they cannot consider the activity well, they are just genuinely likely to struggle in online games but also what we do developmentally,” claimed GM Kyle Dubas, right after deciding on 5 prospective clients that nonetheless want yrs of seasoning.
“(When) we look again five, 10 a long time from now, we want to say we unequivocally took the ideal participant readily available — no matter of no matter whether they designed NHL at 23, 24, 27.”
Meet up with the new hope.
Fraser Minten, C, 38th
When the Maple Leafs traded out of the initial round to ditch Petr Mrazek’s agreement, they had been thrilled Fraser Minten was however on the board at 38.
“That couldn’t have labored out superior for us,” Trade-Down Dubas enthused. “A minor little bit of fortune.”
Minten is what Dubas characterizes as an “intriguing” range.
The Kamloops Blazers centre is really intelligent, and he should profit from his club hosting the 2023 Memorial Cup.
“But the other element of it is, he has not played at a large stage of hockey for that extended. And so, he won’t occur from a household that’s deeply entrenched in hockey or has a large hockey background. He is type of carved his individual route that way,” Dubas points out.
Minten is a deal with to converse to.
He is a classically properly trained concert pianist who receives far more anxious executing on the keys than on the ice.
“It’s these kinds of an particular person matter. Performing in entrance of a ton of persons on an instrument and you mess up, all people can hear it. On the ice, you have 5 fellas driving you to capture up for a error, and it is really type of fluid. Which is how hockey is — you will find tons of problems and read and respond form of thing. Whereas piano, you got to hit each notice or else all people appreciates,” he said.
The Vancouver native devours every single Canucks video game and tries to design his engage in following Bo Horvat. He’s defensively liable, a tad chippy, and anticipates the perform better than most.
“It’s not a chore for me to observe hockey. I like to check out entire online games,” Minten claimed. “I’ll sit there following follow to enjoy the 4 o’clock activity, watch the 7 o’clock recreation. Get what I can from that.
“I’m constantly on the right side defensively and capitalizing to make offence.”
Minten realizes he requires time to mature and should bulk up for the pros. The forward figures he’s nonetheless two or a few a long time from cracking the NHL, but he’s currently considering a GM job when he’s carried out taking part in.
“Highly clever, very aggressive, knows how to win. In observing him in the playoffs a great deal, had a fantastic playoff run. Gonna be the captain there at some point. Just like every thing about his video game,” mentioned Wes Clark, the Leafs’ director of novice scouting. “Really amazing kid. Definitely understands the game and will get it.”
Nicholas Moldenhauer, RW, 95th
You can nonetheless see the scar.
It traces from the bottom of the prospect’s still left ear, along his jaw, to his chin.
An opponent’s skate blade slashed open up Moldenhauer’s confront when his Chicago Metal performed Workforce USA’s below-18 squad.
“It was surely a scary instant,” Moldenhauer recalled Friday, times soon after becoming drafted by his hometown team.
“I feel we got through it as a loved ones, not just myself. A great deal of folks assisted me out via it — just creating sure I was in the right mental condition. Undoubtedly a rough instant, but I believe it produced me as a person, and it is really heading to enable me with points relocating forward as perfectly.”
Even though Moldenhauer already has a Borje Salming look, this Mississauga-born Maple Leafs fan grew up rooting for Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner. (Feeling aged?)
“I’ve lived in Toronto my whole everyday living, so to be in a position to be picked by my hometown is unbelievable,” Moldenhauer claimed, after a big eruption from his supportive loved ones in the Bell Centre stands.
“They were being just as fired up as me, if not a lot more. We have been all content to be ready to share that moment jointly, and it was just a tremendous cool experience.”
The winger prides himself on his means to produce scoring odds and study off his teammates. He expects to return to the USHL — where he place up 18 ambitions and 43 points in 43 online games final period — ahead of determining on an NCAA university.
A selection of superior-conclusion applications covet the ahead, which helps make Dubas sense comfortable about his enhancement.
“Highly intelligent, really aggressive, enjoys actively playing at the internet,” evaluates Clark. “He can rating, and he can make plays.”
The Maple Leafs feel that scar allowed Moldenhauer to slip down to them at No. 95.
“One of the a lot more ugly cuts that you can see to a participant,” Dubas stated. “I assume that impacted his yr and impacted his draft slot. Now it really is just about continuing to do the do the job and getting again to the player that he’s been, which he showed at the less than-18s with Canada, then traveling back again and taking part in with Chicago in the playoffs.”
Dennis Hildeby, G, 122nd
There is a feeling the common manager is fatigued of speaking about the organization’s spotty record of drafting and acquiring bona fide NHL netminders.
“It’s excellent to communicate about, but we want them to go on to develop and arrive alongside and start off to press on to the AHL roster and then to the NHL roster,” Dubas stated.
“But Dennis Hildeby from Färjestad was a player that (goalie scout) Jon Elkin discovered quite early in the year. It truly is a little bit of a unique path. He’s a little bit more mature, but experienced a very good year this year in the SHL.”
The 20-calendar year-old Swede goaltender has been passed about twice in the draft, but Elkin was so passionate about the opportunity, Dubas traded his 2023 fourth-round decide to nab the netminder.
The cellular Hildeby stands a towering 6-foot-6 and posted a .930 help save percentage in 7 online games final 12 months.
“I know he’s a very little older, but he’ll be in a superior put there in Färjestad subsequent yr, in a tandem function,” Clark reported. “We’ll see what comes about immediately after that, but we like what we see.”
Nikita Grebenkin, LW, 135th
A bit of a fifth-spherical flyer below.
Grebenkin — a 6-foot-2, 19-calendar year-outdated Russian winger — is predicted to get a for a longer period path to the NHL and was already passed in excess of at the 2021 draft.
He scored 17 goals and 47 helps in 58 game titles with Magnitogorsk’s junior squad, furthermore 13 factors in 9 playoff games. He was termed up for a one KHL game and has represented Russia at every age group.
“We tried out to do as substantially homework as we potentially could on his problem, what he required, and then with in which we had him on the listing with our select, the selection was created: ‘Let’s decide on him,’ ” Dubas claimed.
The phrase from Toronto’s eyes overseas: machinelike.
“Machinelike, and he can make plays,” Clark stated. “He’ll go and try out to struggle for a location there in Magnitogorsk. We will see what occurs below in the future calendar year or two. But? Machinelike. So, we like that. We like the competitiveness.”
Brandon Lisowsky, C / LW, 218th
Toronto’s WHL scouts, Darren Ritchie and Garth Malarchuk, have been substantial proponents of this 5-foot-9 Saskatoon Blades forward. They pushed to have Lisowsky rated better than the seventh-round slot in which he was picked.
The Port Coquitlam, B.C., native liked a breakout marketing campaign, scoring 33 goals and 58 details in 68 online games. He was also a position-for each-video game in the postseason.
The Leafs like his aggressive streak but want Lisowsky to boost his skating. They’ll just take a peek in enhancement camp, which begins July 15, then allow Lisowsky proceed to hone his video game with the Blades.
“Obviously he can rating, which is a excellent attribute to have,” Dubas mentioned. “Hope that it truly is 1 of the seventh-round picks that everybody appears back on that turns out very well.”