At the risk of popping Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke’s shirt collar buttons through rising blood pressure, we’ll mention how well Tyler Seguin did this week at the Boston Bruins’ prospect camp in Wilmington, Mass.
Not only is the second overall pick from the June draft making some jaw-dropping plays (consecutive top-shelf backhand goals during one shootout drill), he’s clicking on a line with Jared Knight. Chosen 32nd overall from the London Knights, the Battle Creek, Mich., native and Brampton’s Seguin represent the golden picks Toronto gave Boston in the Phil Kessel trade, with another first rounder still to go in 2011.
Upon watching the Seguin-Knight chemistry, a Boston Globe writer called the trade “the gift that keeps on giving.”
Burke bristles at the constant second-guessing of the trade, which he keeps reminding will take years to fully digest.
But give the general manager credit for sticking to his belief that Kessel will have a great impact on the Leafs in the course of a full season, already having established himself in the league at age 22.
Toronto’s hockey honchos had no time to dwell on the glowing Seguin reports from Boston, having busied themselves with their own week-long prospects’ evaluation at the Mastercard Centre. Player development director Jim Hughes said the ambitious itinerary served its purpose as the team now looks to pick about 23 from this week’s group of 30 to attend September’s rookie camp.
“We hit them with a lot of life aspects and information in a short period of time,” Hughes said on Friday.
“Our main goal was quality control and we gave them a wealth of information to apply to both their lifestyle and their game, nutrition, strength and conditioning and media awareness.
“A lot went on during the on-ice sessions and they received a lot of video X’s and O’s.”
The week wasn’t geared to beating someone out of a specific job, but 2009 top pick Nazem Kadri lost no ground as the favourite to make it to the big team’s camp.
“In Thursday’s scrimmage, he was one of the top players, if not the top guy,” Hughes said.
“He has a great skill set and passion. He continues to make progress in a lot of different ways, though he has to keep working on strength. But you have to say that he’s on his way.
“We have some real legit kids here and we need that for depth in the organization. Now we want to move some on through to the rookie camp. Dave Morrison (the amateur scouting director) and I will start hashing that out now. We’d like to have about 12 forwards, eight defencemen and three goalies.”