Leafs pick Ovechkin-Malkin linemate

LANCE HORNBY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:21 AM ET

The Maple Leafs couldn't get Russian super rookies Alexander Ovechkin or Evgeni Malkin, but they did land their linemate.

With its second pick in the draft last night in Vancouver, Toronto selected left winger Nikolai Kulemin. The 19-year-old played with the two stars on the Russian squad at the world championships.

"He played well with those two guys and he was a boy playing with men in Russia," said agent Gary Greenstin last night. "I think he could come over now, but we'll talk with (Leafs general manager) John Ferguson in a few days. He's grateful to the Leafs for taking a chance on him."

The Leafs interviewed Kulemin extensively at last month's NHL scouting combine in Toronto.

"I'd like to think (Ovechkin and Malkin) helped me and I helped them," Kulemin told The Toronto Sun at the combine.

Having traded Tuukka Rask a few minutes earlier, the Leafs went back to a goalie with their third pick at the top of the fourth round, 6-foot-2 James Reimer of the Red Deer Rebels.

Toronto drafted the first German in club history with its other fourth-round selection, defenceman Korbinian Holzer from Bad Tolz.

With their final three picks in the sixth round, Toronto took Swedish left winger Viktor Stahlberg, American high school forward Tyler Ruegsegger and Finnish centre Leo Komarov.


Videos

Photos