At this year’s NHL Draft in Vancouver, the Toronto Maple Leafs will have to wait until Day 2 of the Draft before they make a selection. But, they’ll still be able to strike gold on Day 2.
Unless the Maple Leafs make a trade for a 1st round pick, they currently don’t have one. Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas dealt the 1st round pick to the Los Angeles Kings along with Sean Durzi and Carl Grundstrom for Jake Muzzin back in January. As of right now, the Maple Leafs will be drafting with a pick somewhere between #51 – #54 and with the team’s need for right shooting defensemen, I’ve selected the two prospects I believe best fit that need.
Kaedan Korczak, Kelowna Rockets (WHL)
After reading the various scouting reports about Korczak, I’ve came to the conclusion that the Yorkton, Saskatchewan native would be a great fit in Toronto.
Korczak is currently listed as 6’3″ and weighs 192 Lbs, but at only 18 years of age, he still has time get a bit bigger and to better fill in to his frame.
Scouts have listed him as a good solid defensive defenseman. You’ll likely never see him on the power play, but most scouts see him as a reliable penalty killer and a player coaches would want to put out on the ice late in a game to defend a one goal lead. Korczak has also been described as having good mobility. He’s great when passing the puck out of his zone. Zone exits are crucial and Korczak can be trusted to get the puck out of his zone without mistake. In addition, he doesn’t panic under pressure or get caught out of position.
Korczak is currently projected to be a 2nd pair defenseman, but that could all change depending on how he develops.
Antti Tuomisto, Ässät U20 (Jr. A SM-Liiga)
Born in Pori, Finland, this 6’4″ 190 Lbs right shooting defenseman is seen as a power play quarterback, who looks for the simple and safe pass with less risk of a turnover.
Although his acceleration and straight line speed are a bit slow, his lateral movement is better and his ability to anticipate plays helps him avoid getting caught out of position too often.
Just like Korczak, Tuomisto has a big body with room to fill out and is known for using his big body to rub out opponents along the boards. Just like other big men in hockey, Tuomisto uses his big stick to his advantage to cover passing and shooting lanes.
He’s got a hard shot and good accuracy which is what makes him a good quarterback for the power play.
The biggest thing that Tuomisto needs to work on is his foot speed, but he still has plenty of time for that.
Who I’d Lean Towards
Although both of these players would be a nice addition to the future of the Toronto Maple Leafs, I would select Kaedan Korczak with the Leafs’ 2nd round pick as he is the better defender and has more of what the Maple Leafs need.
We’ll have to wait until Day 2 of the NHL Draft in Vancouver on June 22nd to find out if either of these players becomes a Maple Leaf.
Stats and Scouting reports found on thehockeynews.com and finnprospects.com
Featured Image Photo Credit – Josh Tessler