Leafs scouts gather in T.O.

LANCE HORNBY -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:29 AM ET

The Maple Leafs began a week of amateur scouting meetings yesterday in Toronto, excited by having their highest pick since 1992 and four selections in the first three rounds.

Interim general manager Cliff Fletcher said the anticipation of the seventh overall pick energized the gathering.

The final central scouting rankings included Sarnia Sting forward Steve Stamkos at the top, then five North American defencemen: Zach Bogosian, Drew Doughty, Tyler Myers, Luke Schenn and Alex Pietrangelo. Russian forward Nikita Filatov likely will go in the top 10 if NHL teams aren't scared off by the lack of a transfer agreement with his country's ice hockey federation.

"You have at least four or five very good defencemen that could be there for us, but if they're all taken, we'll have a very good forward," Fletcher said. "I heard that Tampa Bay already has a Stamkos website set up, so you know who they're going to take."

Toronto's amateur scouting director Dave Morrison confirmed yesterday that the Leafs have their first pick, Pittsburgh's second (the Hal Gill trade), two thirds (their own and Florida's from the Chad Kilger trade) three fifth-round choices (including one from the Panthers for Wade Belak who signed there yesterday for two more years) and a sixth and seventh.

Fletcher won't be the GM by training camp, but says the team will train close to home in September at Ricoh Coliseum and have a conservative nine-game exhibition schedule with little travel.


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