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:
Newmarket, ON, Canada HEIGHT:
195 lbs.CENTRAL SCOUTING RANK:
7 goals, 16 assists, 23 points, 39 games.
For Julian Melchiori, it has been a quick run up.
“The first year I was eligible, I was drafted in the OHL in the 14th round. I went to a good college and things just kind of fell into place. The World Junior Challenge in Summerside PEI went well and so did the prospect game in Manitoba. I did well and showcased myself and I’m here now.”
There is, of course, another reason for his advancement.
“I was only five foot eleven,” he said. “I grew four inches in four years.”
That was long enough to learn how tough the game can be.
“I had a shoulder separation in the playoffs. It was tough to battle through that, especially when your team needs you. We already had a short bench. I was out there to prove something. My shoulder was sore, but I just had to work through it.”
Melchiori sees himself as a someone with plenty of point-potential.
“I am more of an offensive defenceman but responsible defensively. I try to model myself after Scott Niedermayer.”
A Toronto kid, Melchiori would love nothing better than to someday scrounge tickets for friends and relatives for every Leafs home game.
“The Leafs would be a dream come true. I’ve been watching Toronto play since I was four. The team has so much history, it would be a history to great to be a part of it.”
Author: Mike Ulmer | Mapleleafs.commentator