Dave Morrison may be the ultimate team guy.
The Maple Leafs’ director of amateur scouting had the rug pulled out from under him last year when former GM John Ferguson traded 2007’s top two picks in a package for goalie Vesa Toskala and forward Mark Bell.
It was Morrison’s first year running the team’s amateur scouting program. His staff had weathered snowstorms, survived arena coffee, analyzed their data and argued this guy over that guy for 363 days. Then when their time in the spotlight came, their top two picks were gone. Morrison expresses no bitterness, stating it was simply for the betterment of the team.
“There’s an initial kind of, ‘Oh.’ But then I think everybody understands it,” said Morrison. “We needed a goalie. Vesa was fantastic for us. You move on as an organization. You realize there’s a greater good here, and that’s the way the team has to operate.”
This year, with the first round of the draft set for tomorrow at the Scotiabank Place in Ottawa, the situation promises to be a different one for Morrison and the rest of his Leafs scouts. With 10 picks over seven rounds, they’ll be able to leave an imprint on the future of this franchise, one that has a history of trading its future for a futile present.
“I would say we’re excited,” Morrison said. “With 10 picks for our staff, it’s great that we’re going to have that may opportunities to pick potential NHL players. It’s a great time of the year.
“We work the whole year for these two days. So it’s a really exciting time.”