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:
Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada HEIGHT:
162 lbs.CENTRAL SCOUTING RANK:
35 goals, 62 assists, 102 points, 54 PIMs, 72 games.
Jordan Weal has heard it all. How couldn’t he? At five-foot-nine (some think he is even smaller), he is the smallest of the highly skilled players to come out of the Western Hockey League.
There are a few voices that actually count. Mostly they have come via the telephone.
They are the voices of his parents, Kelley and Shelley. The two operate an electrical contracting company and on the odd weekend Jordan has spent his time on the business end of a supply drop-off. “I’ve had a few times were I had to unload 700 boxes at a jobsite,” he said.
Jordan Weal is from North Vancouver. Like many of the players who will be drafted, Jordan was coached by his father.
Like any kid, Weal occasionally had to be pushed into maximizing his gifts.
That’s what the drive home from a game was for.
“Every bad game I had, my dad would shake his head and say, ‘wow you played terrible. Everything I told you to do before the game you did not do it.’ I just had to rebound and listen to what he said. He was right.”
“When you are coached by your parent, they know what your best is. And you learn what a hard coach is like. Later on, you get a rough coach and it doesn’t faze you.”
“Once, my dad dropped me off a few blocks down the road and said ‘think about what you have done.’ It was good for me. It taught me there are going to be people who demand my best.”
There are few kids in this draft longer on try. And after every Pats game, there is a ritual conversation with his parents.
“They always repeat stuff. It keeps me online and reminds me what I have done and what it will take for me to be in the NHL.
“They told me don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do it or you’re too small. Being a smaller guy, I have always had that on my back my whole life. I had to use it as a motivation and I have to compete night in and night out, every shift.”
Author: Mike Ulmer | Mapleleafs.commentator