Toronto Maple Leafs Draft Targets: Final Edition

CHICAGO, IL - JUNE 23: Timothy Liljegren poses for photos after being selected 17th overall by the Toronto Maple Leafs during the 2017 NHL Draft at the United Center on June 23, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - JUNE 23: Timothy Liljegren poses for photos after being selected 17th overall by the Toronto Maple Leafs during the 2017 NHL Draft at the United Center on June 23, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /
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Akil Thomas, Niagara IceDogs (OHL), 6 foot, 182 pounds

Thomas picked a great time to have his best statistical season to date. The Niagara centreman has all the raw tools to become a very good contributor at the NHL level.

After posting 21 goals and 48 points in his rookie campaign, Thomas one-upped that by nearly doubling his assist total from the previous year. He finished the season with 81 points in 61 games and added 11 points in 10 playoff games.

"“Not sure if he’ll play centre or the wing at the next level. He is a jack-of-all-trades player who understands the game well. Could stand to be more selfish at times.” – Sam Cosentino, Sportsnet"

It’s a very safe bet that Thomas would excel no matter where is placed on the ice. His offensive output was impressive this season and he could have the chance to eclipse 100 points in his post-draft season.

He’s a player that coaches will love. Especially in the NHL, when your top players need to be able to do a little bit of everything to succeed.

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Ryan McLeod, Mississauga Steelheads (OHL), 6 foot 2, 188 pounds

McLeod has fallen down some draft boards as the season has gone on. Regardless, the raw talent of this player is undeniable.

He got some pivotal experience last season when the Steelheads made a run to the J. Ross Robertson Cup Final, where they eventually lost to the Erie Otters.

McLeod had the chance to once again play with his older brother Michael this season. The 2016 first-rounder featured in less than 40 games for the team though.

The centre finished the season with 26 goals and 70 points in 68 games. That was good enough for third in team scoring, behind only Nic Hague and Owen Tippett.

"“Speed runs in the family. Isn’t as hard-nosed as older brother, Michael but plays a similar game. Missed the 2017 cut-off by a week so his developmental arc is a little clearer. A pro-style guy.” – Cam Robinson, Dobber Prospects"

As stated above, the older birthday allows McLeod to have a chance to make the jump to pro hockey quicker than others in this class.

A good shot, passing ability, IQ and skating, make McLeod one of the more interesting looks in the back half of the first round.

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Ty Dellandrea, Flint Firebirds (OHL), 6 foot 1, 185 pounds

Dellandrea is a late bloomer in this draft. He undoubtedly had a great year in Flint and now looks to be a solid option for a team picking in the late portion of the first round.

His 59 points were second-best on Flint and his 27 markers led the team. While Dellandrea didn’t have the opportunity to perform in the OHL playoffs this season, he did have five points in as many games for Canada at the U-18 World Championships.

"“Underrated center that made the most of his opportunities despite having the misfortune of playing for a doormat. Dellandrea can score in a variety of ways and uses his size to protect the puck extremely well. He was Flint’s go-to guy in every critical situation, so it’s no surprise he likes to model his game after Jonathan Toews.” – Steve Kournianos, Sporting News/The Draft Analyst"

Dellandrea will have to work on his play in the defensive zone going forward. His -30 rating was sixth-worst on the Firebirds’ roster.

When he does progress to the pro ranks, Dellandrea has all the makings to be a top-six centre. His NHL ETA is the real question. The 17-year-old will get another season in the OHL for sure. With another year under his belt, Dellandrea could make the jump to the pro game in no time.

When he gets there, he will be more than ready to contribute.

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Jonatan Berggren, Skellefteå AIK J20 (SuperElit), 5 foot 11, 180 pounds

This is a name that has come up more and more over the past few weeks as the draft has inched closer. Now, it looks as though Berggren could find his way into the first round.

The Swedish centre played the majority of his season with the J20 team for Skellefteå, where he tore up Sweden’s highest junior level.

Berggren averaged 1.50 points per game, and his 39 assists and 57 points were tops in the league.

"“Pesky waterbug with a nonstop motor who uses his speed and anticipation to turn a harmless dump-in into a quality scoring chance.” – Steve Kournianos, Sporting News/The Draft Analyst"

Watching Berggren play in SuperElit, it was clear he was above that league. He made 10 appearances for Skellefteå in the SHL, but didn’t register a point. It would benefit him the most to play against the best competition.

Berggren could play another couple of seasons overseas, before he decides to move over to North America. He is a very interesting talent.

Once he adds some muscle, his offensive ability will allow him to become a top-six talent.