Well, if it’s not clear that Brian Burke is determined to build for the future, while continuing to get better now, tonight’s actions at the drafts proved it. Hours after adding a veteran puck-mover to the club, he went young, adding 18-year olds Tyler Biggs and Stuart Percy.
Biggs’ name is fitting, as the monstrous teenager from the American U-18 Development Program checks in at 6’2, 205 lbs, and should only continue to grow during his upcoming years at the University of Miami (Ohio). There’s no rush for a big guy that was described by the Versus commentators as the “best fighter” and “one of the most truculent” players in the draft, so expect to see Biggs continue to hone his craft in the NCAA for at least a few seasons before he even sniffs the NHL.
Percy is an unusual pick, and I’ll admit I was surprised when I heard his name called, especially with guys like Brandon Saad, Tomas Jurco and Zack Phillips still on the board. However, Burke seemed extremely keen on the kid, and after looking closer at his stats, I’m beginning to understand why. The lanky native of Oakville, Ontario had 33 points and 50 penalty minutes in the regular season with the Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors, helping them reach the Memorial Cup playoffs, where he posted another 12 points and 14 penalty minutes in 20 games.
Obviously, neither player is going to step in and contribute to the team next season, but I’ve begun to be a bit more optimistic about Burke’s plan for the club. I don’t necessarily love the move to trade up for Biggs, and I really would have liked to see Matt Puempel in Blue and White instead of praying he’s a bust in Ottawa, but I’m still more occupied with whatever trades Burke’s got brewing. Call me crazy, but I feel like there has to be something pretty sizeable in the works. Could just be another overanxious Leaf fan, but with all the movement that’s gone on in the past few days, it’s difficult to believe that Burke doesn’t have a few things cooking at the moment.
For now, though, welcome aboard the two newest members of the Leaf family, and Go Leafs!