Leafs Focus on Defence At NHL Entry Draft

The Toronto Maple Leafs beefed up their blue line in Dallas.

The Leafs had nine picks in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft, held this weekend at the American Airlines Center, Four of them were defencemen, two were centres, two right-wingers and a goaltender.

Seven of the players play for one of the three CHL Canadian junior leagues. One other plays in Sweden, and the remaining player is in Russia.

The Leafs traded down a few notches to get the 29th pick in the first round, taking Swedish defenceman Rasmus Sandin.

Sandin played this past season with the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds, leading OHL rookie defencemen with 12 goals and 33 assists for 45 points. He also captained the Swedish team at the World U-17 Championships, winning a gold, and took a bronze with Sweden at the 2017 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Championship.

Toronto stuck with the OHL with its second round pick, taking at 52nd overall Sean Durzi of the Owen Sound Attack.

Durzi, 19, from Mississauga, completed his third season with the Attack with his best point output, 15 goals for 49 total points, with just 12 penalty minutes. He’s been named to the OHL’s 2nd All-Star Team.

The remaining picks headed to the Leafs organisation are as follows:

  • Semyon Der-Arguchintsev – Centre, 76th overall, third round. The 18-year-old from Moscow, Russia played last year for the OHL Peterborough Petes, scoring 12 goals for a total 51 points.
  • Riley Stotts – Centre, 83rd overall, third round. Stotts played last season with the Calgary Hitmen and the Swift Current Broncos of the WHL, with a total of 19 goals for 44 points. Stotts, 18, is from Winnipeg and played for Canada Red at the 2016 World U-17 Hockey Challenge.
  • Mac Hollowell – Defenceman, 118th overall, fourth round. Hollowell had his best season this past year with the OHL Greyhounds, scoring 12 goals for 56 points over 63 games. The Niagara Falls native has a total of 18 goals for 106 points with Sault Ste. Marie, with 64 penalty minutes.
  • Filip Kral – Defenceman, 149th overall, fifth round. Kral, from Brno in the Czech Republic, led rookie defencemen in the WHL with nine goals for 54 points for the Spokane Chiefs. He won a gold medal for the Czech Republic at the 2016 Ivna Hlinka Memorial Championship.
  • Pontus Holmberg – Right-winger, 156th overall, sixth round. Holmberg, 19, played last season for his hometown Vasteras club in Sweden. In the Sweden-3 division, he played 36 games, scoring seven goals for 20 points.
  • Zachary Bouthillier – Goalie, 209th overall, seventh round. The 18-year-old from Greenfield Park, Que. played the last two years in the QMJHL, first with the Shawinigan Cataractes and last season with the Chicoutimi Saugeneens, where he compiled a 3.42 goals-against-average with one shutout and a 89.4% save percentage.
  • Semyon Kizimov – Right-winger, 211th overall, seventh round. Kizimov scored goals for 18 points with his hometown team in Togliatti, Russia in the Russian Junior League. He also had a goal and three assists for Russia at the U-18 Five Nations Tournament held in Plymouth, Michigan this past season.