Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Draft Outlook - Part Five (Toffoli)

In the fifth and final segment of this series (parts one, two, three and four here), we'll be taking a look at Ottawa 67s right winger Tyler Toffoli.

If you're in the Ottawa area and have been to at least one 67s game this season, chances are you've heard of Toffoli. Great shot, adequate skating, but doesn't show much enthusiasm or drive. His stats in the OHL are at more than a PPG average in the last two years (125 points in 119 games), which shows that he has finish. What he lacks, though, is basic foot speed. In a few 67s games I watched this year, he seemed to be a half step behind some of the faster guys. His shot though, as mentioned above, is a cannon. He talks briefly about it in the video clip here, although he seems to be pretty humble and kind of downplays it a bit. Make no mistake, though. When he shoots, it's not exactly something you would want to block.

Most mock drafts have him going anywhere
between 25th and 29th, with some even suggesting a fall out of the 1st. Keep in mind that a few of those drafts don't have the right order, but even at that Toffoli's ranking hasn't changed all that much. Although he's a solid shooter, I personally see his upside to be much like Cheechoo's, specifically his 2007-08 season -- a 20 goal, 15 assist power forward whose lack of speed prevents him from taking it up a notch.

Taking Toffoli at 16 would be a huge reach, to be sure. In addition, if Ottawa Senators draft history has told us anything, it's that we don't draft local players just because they're available. Since our inception, we've only ever drafted two 67s players: Will Colbert and Corey Cowick. With more talented forwards hypothetically available at our spot, my money would be on Toffoli joining many of his former teammates in San Jose, who have drafted Lukas Kaspar, Jamie McGinn, Logan Couture, Derek Joslin, Julien Demers and Will Colbert (when his Senators rights expired) in recent memory.

It's definitely possible that the Sens draft exactly as I've written it, swap it up a bit, or go way off the board. It's even possible that we draft one of the skilled Russians like Tarasenko, Burmistrov or Kabanov, though I wouldn't put money on it. Zubov, Kaigorodov and Nikulin have all burnt us recently and I'm not too sure any of us want to head down that road again too quickly. Also, sleeper picks that I wouldn't be surprised to see us pick up include Beau Bennett, Calle Jarnkrok and Riley Sheehan. Players I would like to target in the 3rd round and later include Jakub Culek, Matt McKenzie, Phillip Grubauer and Jared Knight.

Round one of the draft is on Friday at 7pm. Be sure to tune in!

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