With the Maple Leafs, for now at least, operating without their first two draft choices, the pressure for the scouting staff actually intensifies.
Can the team find jewels in the later rounds?
We spoke to a large sampling of players who may or may not be available should the Leafs choose 62nd in the June 25,-26 entry draft in Los Angeles. Here are their stories.NAME:
Needham, MA HEIGHT:
216 lbs.CENTRAL SCOUTING RANK:
8 goals, 15 assists, 23 points, 20 PIMs, 26 games.
Bill Arnold is working to be the pride of Needham, Massachusetts.
This is not easy, especially in hockey where the commuter town of 30,000, 10 miles from Boston has produced two stars of the US hockey firmament, former Bruins coaches Mike Milbury and Robbie Ftorek.
Ftorek's last NHL gig coaching was with the Bruins. Now semi-retired as a television analyst, Milbury obvious aggressiveness made him an ideal player but a rash general manager.
Luckily for Bill Arnold, his goals are firmly set on the NHL. Any thought of playing for his hometown Bruins is easily swept aside.
"It really doesn't matter to me where I am drafted," he said. "I just want to play in the NHL. I will be ecstatic no matter where it is."
Naturally enough, he hasn't had to look hard for role models.
"I modeled myself after an old-school Bruin, Terry O'Reilly. My Dad used to talk about him, He might not have been the best player on the ice, but he was the hardest working."
O'Reilly, of course, is yet another one-time coach of the Bruins. Bill Arnold does not lack for examples.
"I am a strong power forward. I am gritty," he said. "I am going onto the corner and do what it takes to win the battles there."
His parents may be the ultimate hockey pairing. One is artistic, the other ambitious.
"My Dad is a photographer," he said. "My Mom is the CEO of a technology firm."
It has been for Arnold, a sainted journey. He has escaped all but the most minor of scrapes.
"I don't want to sound like I am bragging but every team I have ever tried out for I have been able to make.
"I guess the biggest moment came when I joined the national program. I got to represent my country playing college teams and overseas. There are no complaints. I am happy to be there."