Earlier in the post-season, I wrote an article about the players the Toronto Maple Leafs could pick with their 25th pick in the 1st round, and now we are going to look at options for them in the later rounds of the draft. The Maple Leafs have three selections in the upcoming NHL draft on July 7th and 8th. Picks number 25, 79, and 218, so assuming no trades are made to move up or down, let’s look at options for the 79th draft choice.
3rd Round, Pick 79:
The benefit that Toronto has is there scouting staff seems to have the ability to find some hidden gems in the later rounds of the draft, and with this draft class, they may be in the same boat.
Kyrou has a family tie to the NHL, with his brother Jordan playing for the St. Louis Blues, but these two brothers are very different. Christian is a defenceman who has a very high hockey IQ. He has a good shot and can skate well, which will help him transition to the NHL. Kyrou can become a top-four defenceman in the NHL after another or two of development, and that is why Toronto would be a good destination for him. Due to the backlog on the Maple Leaf’s backend, it gives Kyrou more time to develop and gives Toronto more control over his contract and when the first year of his ELC will be burned.
It isn’t a secret that the Toronto Maple Leafs like to draft players from Sweden and Tim Almgren is a Swedish forward who could turn out to be a top-six to nine forward in NHL for the organization. He loves to carry the puck, and because his hands and feet are so quick, he tends to carry the puck in on zone entries. This past season he found his offensive game and produced almost a point per game, with room to improve. If he can keep up this pace and develop with the time that the Maple Leafs will allow him before bringing him over to North America, he could become a significant role player for the team for years to come.
Another area that the Maple Leafs love to draft from in recent years because the control over the player before joining the organization is the USA. Quinn Finley is an American who currently plays in the USHL but has committed to the NCAA for the next season. As mentioned, this gives the Maple Leafs time before bringing him into the organization, similar to Matthew Knies and Nick Abruzzese. Finley had late 1st round early 2nd round potential, but because of the last few seasons, his draft stock has fallen but could prove to be a steal if the Maple Leafs can select him with the 79th pick. Finley has good puck skills and good hands, his skating is a strength, but his lack of size is one area he will need to improve. Based on his development path, by the time he makes the team, he should be heavier than he is currently. I feel he could slot into a top-nine role and find success.