Hot Starts for Travis Konecny, Jeremy Bracco, Everyone Tied to Toronto’s 2015 Double Trade Down

    It is June 26th, 2015. Every NHL team is represented in Sunrise, Florida where the 53rd NHL Entry Draft is being held. This is the first draft with Mark Hunter running the show for the Toronto Maple Leafs. They had just selected Mitch Marner fourth overall, a small, skilled winger from Hunter’s London Knights.

    Skip ahead an hour or two. The Leafs are about to be on the clock with their 24th overall selection, the pick acquired from Nashville in the Cody Franson and Mike Santorelli trade. Instead of seeing Leafs management head to the stage, Gary Bettman chimes in: “We have a trade to announce!” The Philadelphia Flyers had acquired the 24th overall pick from the Maple Leafs in exchange for the 29th and 61st overall selections.

    The Flyers proceeded to select Travis Konecny, a former first overall selection of the Ottawa 67s in the 2013 OHL Priority Selection. He was a highly ranked prospect that had fallen and had Leafs fans salivating.

    The Leafs later flipped the 29th overall selection to Columbus for the 34th and 68th picks. Hunter cited the depth of the draft was the reason for trading down.

    The Leafs draft haul tied to that traded 24th pick ended up looking like this:

    Hot Starts

    All four players tied to the trades have had excellent starts to their 2016-2017 seasons, though they all play in different leagues. Konecny is in the NHL playing for the Flyers. Dermott is in the AHL playing for the Toronto Marlies. Bracco is in the OHL playing for the Kitchener Rangers. Martins Dzierkals is in the QMJHL playing for the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies.

    Player Team GP G A P SOG CF% TOI/GP
    Travis Konecny (LW) Philadelphia Flyers (NHL) 3 0 4 4 8 48.5 15:10
    Travis Dermott (D) Toronto Marlies (AHL) 2 1  1  2  8  –
    Jeremy Bracco (RW) Kitchener Rangers (OHL) 6  6 11 17  26
    Martins Dzierkals (RW) Rouyn-Noranda Huskies (QMJHL) 7 6 6  12 28 26:15

    Data via Hockey Reference and Prospect Stats

    Konecny, a rookie, is playing left wing on the second line with Sean Couturier as his centre and Jakub Voracek as his right wing counterpart. He’s also getting second powerplay time. His situation could quickly change with Brayden Schenn due to return from his three-game suspension, however.

    Bracco, a sophomore in the OHL, was named CHL Player of the Week for the week ending October 16 with 13 points in four games. His 2.83 P/GP mark is 1st among all skaters.

    Dermott, a rookie in the AHL, has 4 shots per game, which is 3rd among defensemen. Anaheim’s Shea Theodore, who Randy Carlyle cut prior to the season, is 1st with 15 shots (!) through two games. Carlyle’s Ducks are winless through four games (side note: LOL) and will probably call Theodore up, which would give Dermott a better shot at that SOG title.

    A sophomore in the QMJHL, Dzierkals’ 1.71 P/GP mark is 4th among all skaters. He’s also averaging 4 shots per game. Dzierkals’ Huskies were ranked 1st by the CHL in their Top 10 Rankings on October 12th after their 6-0 start.

    Who has had the most impressive season?

    Small sample size be damned, I think you have to give Konecny credit for making the NHL squad and performing. Bracco leading the OHL in points per game is second most impressive in my opinion, though your mileage may vary.

    Dermott’s Brent Burns-esque 4 shots per game as a 19-year-old rookie in the AHL is also very encouraging. And the shifty Dzierkals ain’t doing awful himself.

    Who won the trade?

    I believe that trades are won/lost on the day they are made with the information available that day. Do you want to play the draft pick value game, where three good prospects are a better bet than one slightly better one? Or do you want to play the scouting game, where Konecny is a steal at 24th overall? The answer lies somewhere in the middle, which is especially difficult to pinpoint for the Leafs and the Flyers.

    I think we can safely say that Columbus lost their trade with the Leafs. 29th overall for 34th and 68th and they go off the board for Gabriel Carlsson, a defender with limited offensive upside?! Corey Pronman thinks Carlsson is Columbus’ 9th best prospect. Ex-Leaf Scott Harrington is 8th.

    Hunter, Kyle Dubas, and Brendan Shanahan’s decision to go quantity over quality in the 2015 draft will continue to be debated for years in the Barilkosphere. Pretty much every Flyers fan, if I recall correctly, was ecstatic with Ron Hextall trading up to draft Konecny. With all four prospects involved getting off to great starts this year, both teams are probably happy with their decisions at this point.

    The early returns suggest this one might be a win-win. We’ll be keeping a close eye on Konecny, Dermott, Bracco, and Dzierkals as their seasons develop.

    Who would you rather have?

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