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article imageMaple Leafs scouts will talk to 80 players before junior draft

By Marcus Hondro     May 30, 2013 in Sports
The Toronto Maple Leafs are a franchise on the rise and they're taking nothing for granted. They need strong performances at the drafting table and are preparing hard for the NHLs June 30 junior draft in New Jersey. Preparing very hard.
The Leafs scouting team is assembled at an airport hotel in Toronto this week for the annual NHL scouting combine put on by the NHLs central scouting bureau. Toronto will be interviewing dozens of young players in order to get that final edge going into the draft. Yeah, those other 29 NHL teams are interviewing players and watching drills there, too, but Toronto's scouts won't be outworked.
"We're going to see quite a few guys, 70 or 80," Leafs chief amateur scout, Dave Morrison, told media earlier this week. "We interview a lot of players because we have that chance. It makes for long days. The opportunity to talk to all of these players just increases our database for the future. Even if we don't draft them, at least we have some sort of information on them."
Maple Leafs amateur scouts ready
Morrison, along with his team of scouts, including former Leaf goaltender Mike Palmateer and Garth Malarchuk, the brother of former NHL goalie Clint Malarchuk (Garth himself is a former minor-league goalie) will ask their questions as fast as they can in order to leave as much time as they can for the players to answer.
"We'll just try to get to know them as quickly as we can in that 15- or 20-minute time slot," said Morrison. "Some of the questions can be generic. But some can be based on answers they've already given us in the previous questionnaire. We may want to get elaboration on the answer they've given. So we ask them about it. If they've had issues over the course of the year, that may or may not be flags. We want to give the kid a chance to explain themselves."
The Leafs have a pick in each of seven rounds and though they are not drafting until the 21st spot in the first round, they'll still be looking to find a Nazem Kadri (he was taken 7th overall in the 2009 draft). They know they'll have to look not only at the stats but at the person who generated them.
"The reality is they are 17-year-old kids," Morrison said. "They have a lot of growing up to do. Some are more mature than others."
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