When Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Lou Lamoriello stepped to the podium in Chicago at the 2017 NHl Entry Draft, he must have been as surprised as anyone that defenseman Timothy Liljegren was available at pick number 17. The big Swedish defenseman was a consensus top 3 pick just a calendar year ago, but an inconsistent season in 2016-17, due mostly to injury and illness, resulted in his draft stock falling considerably. Good news for Leafs fans. They get to nab a top defender in the middle of the round because of a bad case of mono.
Liljegren aside, who else did the Leafs take? With their six remaining picks the Leafs drafted three more defensemen, two forwards and a goaltender. Three of their picks are from the OHL, indicating that home grown talent is important to the club.
Eemeli Rasanen, chose at 59th overall, may hold the most upside of any selection other than Liljegren. The giant 6’8”, 208 lb Finnish defenseman played for the Kingston Frontenacs last year and put up six goals and 39 points in 66 games. Keep your eyes on the big defender as he looks to take a step next season in the OHL. He has the physical capabilities to absolutely dominate the game, especially at the junior level.
For a recap of all the Leafs selections from the 2017 NHL Entry Draft, check out NHL.com writer Adam Proteau’s latest column: