By James Tanner
Last night the draft lottery was held and the Florida Panthers won. This means they moved up from second to first. The Leafs will pick eighth, and they neither moved up nor down in the order of selection. The Leafs had only a 3.6% of winning the lottery, and while it would have been nice to win, it didn’t happen! The Leafs have not selected first overall since 1985 when they selected Wendel Clark.
Picking eighth is not such a bad place to pick. According to TSN, Jake Virtanen of the Calgary Hitmen is the eighth ranked prospect. He is a 6’1″ 210 lbs power forward, listed on various sites as both a left and right winger. He had 45 goals and 71 points in 71 games this year in the WHL. This scouting report calls him an “exceptional skater,” and “very physical.” I do not pretend to be an expert in junior players, but based on what I have read of Virtanen, should he be available when the Leafs pick – as he is expected to be – he sounds like a pretty good pick up for the lower-half of the top ten.
Serial entrepreneur who started building websites in 1995. Founded The Hockey Writers in Jan. of 2009. Traveled with family for a year, visiting 25 countries along the way.