Leafs stick at No. 7

MIKE ZEISBERGER -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 11:14 AM ET

In 1983 the Maple Leafs used the seventh overall selection to draft speedy forward Russ Courtnall.

Four years later the Leafs, picking once again in the No. 7 slot, took a rugged defenceman named Luke Richardson.

Come June 20 in Ottawa, the Maple Leafs, barring a deal from Trader Cliff Fletcher, will find themselves in that familiar spot once again. Will it be Lucky No. 7 for Toronto?

"We know this -- we will get a good player at that spot," Fletcher said last night after watching the Tampa Bay Lightning win the draft lottery, earning the No. 1 pick and a shot at Sarnia Sting superstar Steve Stamkos.

Fletcher said the Leafs have their list of the top seven prospects in place.

"This is a good year for defencemen, especially the Top Four," Fletcher said.

Most draft prognosticators consider the elite defencemen to be a three-pack: Peterborough's Zach Bogosian, Guelph's Drew Doughty and Niagara's Alex Pietrangelo, recently sidelined by mononucleosis. But Fletcher said he also considers Kelowna Rockets blue liner Luke Schenn, a member of the gold medal-winning Canadian junior team, to be part of that group.

Fletcher has scouted most of the top prospects with the exception of Doughty "but I saw him play on TV during the world juniors."

TSN last night had Kitchener Rangers winger Mikkel Boedker ranked seventh. The International Scouting Service has Bogosian as the seventh-ranked skater while Central Scouting has Schenn ranked as the No. 7 North American skater, one spot behind teammate Tyler Myers, also a defenceman.

Notable seventh overall picks in the past include Joffrey Lupul (2002, Anaheim), Mike Komisarek ('01, Montreal) and Shane Doan ('95, Winnipeg).

Don't be surprised if Fletcher knocks on Tampa Bay GM Jay Feaster's door attempting to pry away that top pick, although his offer would have to blow away his Tampa counterpart.

"If someone comes up with a truckload of players, prospects and draft picks, we might consider it," Feaster said. "But we're not going in looking to move it. It would have to be a no-brainer for us to move a potential franchise player."

Stamkos, meanwhile, said he only has been to Florida once in his life.

"I was three-years-old and a sea gull took my french fry. At least that's what my mom said happened," said Stamkos, who feels ready to step into the NHL next season.

"I know nothing is set in stone but if Tampa decides to pick me, that would be great. I know it's a good hockey team and you can't complain about the weather. It will be the best of both worlds."


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