With the second round of the playoffs winding down, and the NHL draft drawing closer every day, it’s time to take a look at some of the potential prospects that the Leafs might be adding to their organization. The Leafs’ first pick of the draft will fall, barring any trades, to 25th, regardless of whether Detroit or San Jose wins their series. Their second pick of the first round will fall somewhere between 27th and 30th, depending on how Boston fares in their Conference Finals matchup with the Lightning. Over the next few days we’ll look at some of the prospects that are expected to still be available when the Leafs are called to the podium to make their pick.
To start things off, let’s take a look at Slovakian forward Tomas Jurco.
Jurco was ranked 24th overall when the Central Scouting midseason report was released, but has risen to 20th among North American skaters since then. Jurco is a flashy scorer with some incredible hands. Listed at 6’2, 187 lbs on NHL.com, Jurco has the size to fully utilize those hands at the junior level, but he’ll obviously have to bulk up a bit in order to make an impact in the NHL game.
Like many European skaters, Jurco’s work ethic has been called into question at times, but not enough that it would be considered a serious negative issue. Jurco didn’t make the International Scouting Service’s top 30 list at the end of the season, and while that doesn’t mean he won’t go higher, there’s probably a decent chance he’ll be around, potentially as late as the Leafs 2nd or 3rd pick in this draft. While there might be better options for the Leafs’ first pick, he would still make a solid pickup.
Jurco has been playing at just under a point-per-game pace for the past two seasons, both in the regular season and playoffs, for the Saint John’s Sea Dogs in the QMJHL. Obviously, those numbers don’t translate into superstar numbers at the NHL level, but at just 19 years old, Jurco would be an interesting project with some solid upside. In the meantime, enjoy the following highlights: