SPORTS

Defenceman Travis Dermott is Maple Leafs first pick on Day 2 of NHL Draft

06/27/2015 03:14 EDT | Updated 06/27/2016 05:59 EDT
SUNRISE, Fla. - The Toronto Maple Leafs weren't drafting for next year. Their plans are much more long range than that.

Maple Leafs president Brendan Shanahan showed just how patient he's willing to be with Toronto's rebuilding process on Saturday, drafting a total of nine players with an emphasis on skill and hockey sense instead of NHL readiness.

"We had some kids that we had graded higher that were still available and they were probably available because they were a little bit under-sized," said Shanahan minutes after the second day of the draft wrapped up. "We're not asking them to play in the NHL next year or the year after or the year after that, some of them will grow, some of them won't, some of them will find a way."

Although there was a lot of trade buzz surrounding the Leafs before the draft, especially centring around all-star sniper Phil Kessel, no serious trades materialized. Shanahan did say that the groundwork for some deals had begun on the draft floor and they would continue to be explored.

Instead, Toronto made a series of smaller deals to move down in the draft and get more picks.

High-scoring centre Mitch Marner of the Ontario Hockey League's London Knights was the Maple Leafs' first pick at fourth overall on Friday night, but Toronto then traded the No. 24 pick to the Philadelphia Flyers for the 29th overall pick and the 61st.

Before the 29th selection rolled around the Maple Leafs flipped it to the Columbus Blue Jackets for the No. 34 and 68th picks.

"It was just a matter of getting (director of player personnel) Mark Hunter more kicks at the can and more opportunities," said Shanahan. "We were able to take 24 and slide 10 choices back and by doing that add another second and add another third.

"It was good for us at the table today to be able to have those opportunities and make those picks. Quite frankly, one of the guys that we were thinking about at 24 was still there at 34 so we were excited about that."

That 34th pick was defenceman Travis Dermott, a Newmarket, Ont., native who had eight goals and 37 assists with the OHL's Erie Otters last season.

"Guys at the next level are always going to be bigger and stronger," said the five-foot-11 Dermott. "Going through the levels I've found already, from minor hockey to junior, junior to OHL, you've got to make sure you're big and strong."

Right-winger Jeremy Bracco was taken after Dermott in the second round. Defenceman Andrew Nielsen went in the third, as did Latvian left-winger Martins Dzierkals.

Toronto took Swedish defenceman Jesper Lindgren in the fourth, followed by Ukrainian-born Swedish left-winger Dmytro Timashov in the fifth.

Defenceman Stephen Desrocher was chosen in the sixth round before Toronto ended its draft by selecting Russian right-winger Nikita Korostelev in the seventh.

The Maple Leafs did trade for one NHL-level player, acquiring defenceman Martin Marincin from the Edmonton Oilers for forward Brad Ross and a fourth-round draft pick.

Ross has already committed to playing for the Iserlohn Roosters of the German elite league this coming season.

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