By Dave MacDonald
As the trade deadline ticked away, it became increasingly apparent that substantial movement was not coming this past Monday. While it wasn’t to say there weren’t trades made before 3:00pm Eastern time that will help some playoff bound clubs, they certainly were not of the blockbuster variety.
As a result, I have decided to alter the format of this week’s ramblings ever so slightly. Rather than focus on just the picks from the 2016 Trade Deadline, I have expanded it out to cover picks from the rounds one and two traded since July 1st, 2015 to expand the choices out. Included will be my selection, where the pick was acquired, the rationale for the selection, as well as a quick summary of the player. Draft positioning will be determined by standings on deadline day. Enjoy.
With the 16th Overall Selection in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft, the Toronto Maple Leafs select… from the London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League, left winger Max Jones.
This pick was acquired from the Pittsburgh Penguins on July 1st, 2015 in the Phil Kessel trade – though it is conditional on Pittsburgh making the playoffs, that condition was satisfied using these standings.
While Toronto would likely a prefer a defenceman in this slot, the reality is that this isn’t a defense heavy draft. With Mark Hunter’s ties to London, they go to familiar territory and draft a physical player in Jones who has solid offensive skill. Jones is a feisty player who plays the old way – grinding, physical hockey with solid toughness. While he may not develop into a top tier offensive talent, he has a booming shot and could certainly become a guy who will go into the dirty areas and get the job done.
With the 29th Overall Selection, the Winnipeg Jets select… from the Brandon Wheat Kings of the Western Hockey League, defenceman Kale Clague.
Winnipeg acquired this pick from the Chicago Blackhawks in the Andrew Ladd deal on February 25th, 2016.
The Jets boast one of the most coveted stables of prospects in the NHL, and at this point go with the best player available. While Clague has been touted as a potential top 15 pick, his size and penchant for getting caught down low may result in him dropping later into the round. Playing in Manitoba, Clague will be a quasi-home grown product and will help excite the fan base. He projects to be a very good top-four defenseman, with great instincts and impressive gap control for a defensive player at his age. While he doesn’t project to be in the NHL in the near future, he has great long-term upside.
With the 46th Overall Selection, the Pittsburgh Penguins select… from the Shawinigan Cataractes of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, defenceman Samuel Girard.
As a result of the Maple Leafs receiving the Penguins first round selection, the secondary condition of that trade was that Pittsburgh reacquire their own second-round pick from the Daniel Winnik trade at last years’ deadline.
With a dearth of talent in their farm system, Pittsburgh elects to go with sheer talent. With little in terms of premier talent coming up, and Derrick Pouliot graduating to the big club this season, Samuel Girard makes a lot of sense. While small in size, Girard is extremely talented with exceptional feet and extremely high hockey IQ. With high-end offensive instincts and a bomb of a shot, particularly surprising given his 5-9 stature, Girard is an enticing prospect that the Penguins will not be able to hold off of.
With the 55th Overall Selection, the Calgary Flames select… from the Erie Otters of the Ontario Hockey League, right winger Taylor Raddysh.
Calgary acquired this pick from Florida on February 27th, 2016 in exchange for forward Jiri Hudler.
As the Flames continue to rebuild their farm system, Raddysh represents a solid addition to a forward corps. While Brian Burke may not be the General Manager of the club, the type of hockey he likes to see his teams play is something that Raddysh will bring. As a heavy-set, rugged winger, this young talent gets into the dirty areas of the rink with a fierce mentality to outwork his opponents. On the right club and good development, this could result in a player capable of putting up 50 points in a season with a fair number of penalty minutes.
With the 56th Overall Selection, the Carolina Hurricanes select… from the Sault St. Marie Greyhounds of the Ontario Hockey League, left winger Tim Gettinger.
Carolina acquired this pick from the New York Rangers in exchange for Eric Staal on February 28th, 2016.
As Carolina continues on what feels like a long-term rebuild, they snag a true project in Tim Gettinger. With a massive frame at 6-5 and nearly 220 lbs, Gettinger is a large man on his skates. While his skating leaves much to be desired at this point, that isn’t unusual for a young player of his stature. He is a rangy player with a big, active stick, and is an imposing presence in front of the net for any defenseman. While he is certainly raw and will require a big learning curve, the upside is certainly there with all the tools he possesses.
With the 60th Overall Selection, the Toronto Maple Leafs select… from Lulea HF of the Swedish Hockey League, goaltender Filip Gustavsson.
Toronto acquired this pick from Washington in exchange for Daniel Winnik on February 28th, 2016.
Having thrown out late-round picks in the past few years to draft the likes of Garrett Sparks and Antoine Bibeau, Toronto clearly lacks a goaltending prospect who brings any certainty whatsoever to the position. Having not acquired a blue-chip netminding prospect, the Leafs spent a high pick to go with Gustavsson. Though he has struggled a bit with consistency this season, Gustavsson has played well against men in his few SHL appearances this season. Though he doesn’t fit the standard behemoth template of the modern NHL goaltender, Gustavsson is extremely quick with razor-like reflexes. Coupled with a fiercely competitive drive, he could represent a light of hope for a bleak Maple Leaf goaltending future.
Thanks for reading, and see you next week.