Maple Leafs Missed Out on Late-Round Talent at 2011 Draft


It’s been 10 years for the reason that 2011 NHL Entry Draft and it was a painful one for the Toronto Maple Leafs. Like many drafts and prospects previously they’d quite a few possibilities to draft high quality NHL gamers and missed the mark fully. 

From lacking out on Rickard Rakell to probably touchdown Nikita Kucherov within the second spherical, there was numerous head scratching with the selections that then Maple Leafs normal supervisor Brian Burke and the scouting division made. Buying and selling as much as choose Tyler Biggs involves thoughts. It took some time, however the Maple Leafs are in an important spot proper now with the way in which they’re drafting and creating their prospects.

This draft might’ve sped up the rebuilding course of because the Maple Leafs had 9 picks within the seven rounds. Out of the 9 picks from that draft, Josh Leivo is the one participant who the Maple Leafs drafted that went on to play greater than 200 NHL video games. What’s coincidental is that the Maple Leafs have a chance to signal a few of the gamers they may’ve drafted as they’re up and coming free brokers. 

The Maple Leafs actually dropped the ball with this draft. Whereas it’s troublesome to venture how these prospects would’ve panned out, they have been in a major spot to pick out high quality NHL expertise. Listed here are 4 notable gamers that the Maple Leafs might’ve had within the later rounds on the 2011 NHL Draft with their choice.

43rd Total: Brandon Saad

To Maple Leafs: 2010 second-round decide (32ndoverall- Jared Knight) 
To Chicago Blackhawks: 2011 second-round decide (43rd) and 2011 third-round decide (70th)

This decide initially belonged to the Calgary Flames after the Maple Leafs acquired it in a commerce together with Wayne Primeau. Giving up this decide damage the Maple Leafs massive time as they already gave up their different second-round decide to the Anaheim Geese that they used to pick out John Gibson.

The Blackhawks actually took benefit with this decide, as Saad has had success in his profession with them. He was off to an important begin in his first three seasons, as he registered 27 factors in his rookie season and adopted that up with 47 and 52 factors. He was a significant addition to their roster as he helped the Blackhawks win two Stanley Cups in 2012-13 and 2014-15. He was finally traded to the Columbus Blue Jackets, recording back-to-back 53-point seasons. 

Brandon Saad, Colorado Avalanche (Photograph by Juan Ocampo/NHLI by way of Getty Photos)

Saad discovered his means again on the Blackhawks after they traded Artemi Panarin to the Columbus Blue Jackets, taking part in three extra seasons earlier than being traded to the Colorado Avalanche for the 2020-21 season. Whereas he solely recorded 24 factors, his offensive output elevated within the playoffs, scoring seven targets in 10 video games.

He is probably not an elite participant, however Saad has at all times served as a viable and sufficient top-six ahead choice. Given how the Maple Leafs made the postseason in 2012-13, it was a downward decline after that. Saad would’ve been an early piece for the longer term and would’ve been one in every of many items to vary the route of the group. Now that he’s a pending unrestricted free agent, he may very well be a possible choice for the Maple Leafs as a second line winger and supply some robust secondary scoring. 

70th Total: Blake Coleman

The second decide the Maple Leafs gave up in that commerce with the Blackhawks was used to pick out Michael Paliotta. He has seen little or no NHL motion as he’s solely performed in two video games with quite a few stops with various groups within the American League.

If the Maple Leafs did their homework, they may’ve landed Blake Coleman, who was finally chosen 5 spots later by the New Jersey Devils. After being traded to the Tampa Bay Lightning, he gained the Stanley Cup. He brings a speedy, two-way presence and an aggressive mentality that was extraordinarily beneficial to them.

Blake Coleman Tampa Bay Lightning
Blake Coleman, Tampa Bay Lightning (Photograph by Scott Audette /NHLI by way of Getty Photos)

Coleman has robust two-way presence with the power to get in on the fore-check and acquire possession. He’s additionally harmful in relation to the excessive hazard space being a significant factor producing possibilities and creating targets. In 2020-21 with not less than 200 minutes performed, Coleman had a excessive hazard possibilities for share (HDGF%) of 57.87 and a excessive hazard targets for share (HDGF%) of 68.75– rating third in each classes.

Coleman would’ve already been a key depth addition to the Maple Leafs bottom-six ahead group. The Maple Leafs depth was at all times missing till just lately. Having a participant together with his type of depth would’ve made the group extra aggressive and more durable to play towards. He has been actually efficient previously and having a strong depth piece within the system would’ve helped them out in that regard.

100th Total: Johnny Gaudreau

This decide in all probability damage probably the most. The Maple Leafs chosen Tom Nilsson with their 100th decide and Gaudreau was chosen 4 picks later by the Calgary Flames.

Calgary Flames Johnny Gaudreau
Calgary Flames Johnny Gaudreau (AP Photograph/Paul Sancya)

In an article by former head of European scouting for Dobber Prospects and present newbie scout for the Carolina Hurricanes Jokke Nevalainen, gamers from 2000-2009– most notably forwards– drafted between 91st and 120th general have a hit price of twenty-two% of creating the NHL. That’s a low success price for fourth spherical prospects of doubtless making the NHL. Two drafts later, Gaudreau is likely one of the higher success tales as a late-round decide, with the Flames hanging gold with him.

In 520 video games with the Flames, Gaudreau has totaled 170 targets and 324 assists. Since his rookie season in 2014-15, he ranks eighth in assists and 11thin factors, turning into a giant time level producer and playmaker. He additionally hit the 60-point mark 5 occasions and was one level away from 100 factors in 2018-19, falling in need of being a finalist for the Hart Trophy. Whereas the Flames have struggled just lately, Gaudreau nonetheless stays constant together with his manufacturing. 

It’s very uncommon to discover a participant with high-end offensive upside within the fourth spherical. Who would’ve thought that the Flames would get one of many high wingers within the NHL in the present day. Whereas he turned out to be an offensive powerhouse, the Maple Leafs might’ve had the chance to have a primary line winger. Once more, it’s laborious to gauge gamers on this spherical, however what if he labored out for the Maple Leafs? 

160th Total: Josh Manson

To Maple Leafs: 2012 sixth-round decide (157th overall- Ryan Rupert)
To Geese: 2011 sixth-round decide (160th general)

You understand how Maple Leafs followers carry on wishing to have a gentle, right-handed defenseman like Manson and the way he could be a great commerce goal? Nicely, they actually might’ve drafted him and this saga of seeking to purchase the defenseman wouldn’t even be a subject of dialog.

Josh Manson Anaheim Ducks
Josh Manson, Anaheim Geese (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Manson is the best top-four, shut down defenseman and has been very profitable in that regard for the Geese. In 408 video games with the Geese, he has tallied 104 factors and has additionally logged numerous minutes on the blue line. Extra so on the penalty kill, the place he averaged 2:28 since his rookie season in 2014-15. Throughout a time when the Maple Leafs have been seeking to draft and develop high quality defensemen, Manson would’ve been a kind of gamers that would’ve been a distinction maker on the again finish.

He would’ve been nice in a second or third pairing position, being good defensively in his personal finish, whereas additionally bringing a bodily ingredient. Burke was massive on “truculence and belligerence” and Manson would’ve been the poster boy for that type of mentality that Burke wished for this Maple Leafs group. 

Whereas the Maple Leafs at the moment have a participant like Jake Muzzin, think about having Manson present some stability on the blue line early on for them. Even when the Maple Leafs nonetheless acquired Muzzin, having these two as a pairing could be a nightmare for the opposition given their aggressive type with potential to chip in offensively. He would’ve been an important asset as a top-four defenseman.

There’s no assure that these picks would’ve panned out, but when they did venture the identical means as if the Maple Leafs chosen them, they misplaced out on some potential game-changing expertise– exhibiting how poor their scouting division was. In the event that they drafted the way in which they did in 2011 like they do now, Maple Leafs could be in a significantly better spot as an alternative of creating poor choices with picks and picks.

Statistics from Pure Stat Trick and Draft info from Cap Pleasant.


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