They came from across the block and around the corner. One came after a desperate search for his dress pants.
A few did not come at all.
The Toronto Maple Leafs selected 9 players at the 2011 NHL Entry Draft.
They landed Colarado Avalanche defenceman John-Michael Lyles for draft picks.
They plucked executive Rick Dudley out of the executive talent pool before they could figure out a new title for him. As it stands today, there is no job title. He just helps.
All that said, this might be remembered as the draft where the hopes for a new first line centre did not materialize. There were in fact, virtually no deals but as usual, plenty of stories.
Like the club’s number one pick, Tyler Biggs
, a strapping six-foot-two kid who likes to fight and likes to score. Biggs, whose parents are Canadian born, considered hockey as an alternative to life as a Marine.
He said there is one glaring similarity to life as a solider and a hockey player. By the time it gets to you, it doesn’t matter who started the fight. All that matters that you finish it.
“I have no problem doing that either,” he said. “Once it happens, it’s done and you move on.”
Biggs said he fought 18 times in the US junior national program. He figured he won about 18. No need for much mystery about his selection.Stuart Percy
, drafted 25th is a defense first rearguard who played for Mississauga St. Mike’s Majors. He said being drafted by the Leafs, his hometown team, was literally a dream come true. Literally. He would wake up in bedroom in Oakville, the one with the Tie Domi, Doug Gilmour and Mats Sundin posters and think he had just been drafted. Percy, a keen and intelligent kid, used the word surreal a lot and seemed as deliriously happy on the second day of the draft as on the first.
Best story of the day goes to Tony Cameranesi
, a slight kid from nearby Maple Grove who, having spent much of the morning in his living room watching other people’s names being called, decided he needed to go out for a run.
“When I got back, my parents told me I had been drafted. I ran about two miles. I do it pretty much every Saturday morning,” he said.
“Once I got the call, I had to change and for some reason I couldn’t find my dress pants. It took a little longer than usual but I’m glad to be here.”
The Leafs third-rounder, Josh Leivo
wasn’t in the house. A leftwinger with the Sudbury Wolves, Leivo was back home and wasn’t on anyone’s list…unless you count the Leafs.
Left wing David Broll
known as the Steam Broller, went in the sixth. Broll is extraordinarily stocky even if he is six-foot-two. He scored 13 goals with the Soo Greyhounds.
The Leafs also drafted Swedish defenceman Tom Nilsson
in the fourth round, American goalie Garrett Sparks in the seventh round and Max Everson
, a defenceman from Minnesota bound for Harvard in round number seven.
“To add John-Michael Liles
, to add Rick Dudley in a non player move, to add the two guys in the first round and the guys we got in the second day, we are pretty happy with the trip to Minnesota,” said GM Brian Burke
“We’re going to be active on July 1. We have two drafts. One now, one on July 1. We’ve been active each year and we intend to be again.”