Leafs Close Out Draft With a Bang, Grab Nikita Korostelev in 7th Round

Screen cap courtesy Cogeco TV

This is going to make a lot of people very happy.

The Toronto Maple Leafs have snapped up talented Sarnia Sting forward Nikita Korostelev with the 185th pick in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft. That’s pretty amazing, as Korostelev was widely regarded as a 2nd or 3rd round talent.

At 6’1, 196lbs, the right-shooting Korostelev put up 24 goals and 53 points in 55 games for Sarina, leading the team in scoring. Born in Moscow, Korostelev crossed the Atlantic years ago and played for the Toronto Jr. Canadiens before being drafted into the OHL.

Across the board, Korostelev was ranked higher than where the Leafs were able to take him. NHL Central Scouting ranked him 50th among North American skaters, while ISS ranked him 60th and Future Considerations ranked him 62nd. Korostelev also appeared at 69th on TSN’s Bob McKenzie’s list, and ESPN’s Corey Pronman had him 61st.

From Future Considerations

Korostelev has the potential to be a dominate player at every level he plays at. The problem
is that his desire and inconsistent efforts do not always make that a priority. He has an abun-
dance of high-end tools to work with. He’s a fantastic skater, has a great set of hands and has
the offensive instincts you can’t teach. He gains possession of the puck and protects it very well.
He also has the ability to find and distribute the puck well, and is a catalyst on the powerplay.
He moves fluidly through the opposition. He has a rocket of a shot, but needs to shoot it more
often. His shot also has the ability to find its way through traffic. He has the release that can fool
goaltenders, but he can get too fancy with the puck and try to make a play to a teammate as opposed to burying an open opportunity. He uses his smarts and vision to get to open ice to create
more passing options. He has good hands and a knack for making defenders look silly when
they least expect it. Defensively, he isn’t 100 percent committed, but he gets to the point with
speed to cover his man and block shooting lanes. 
NHL Potential: Top Line Offensive Winger

And more from Pronman

He’s a pretty good physical forward with a filled-out frame, and he displays a strong power game with the puck. Korostelev can play a perimeter game as well as the inside game due to his impressive hands and vision. He also has a high-end shot, as his one-timers generate a ton of velocity. His skating is a bit of a knock, as he lacks a separation gear coming down the wing.

Other Leafs Picks…

Mitch Marner, 4th Overall

Travis Dermott, 34th Overall

Jeremy Bracco, 61st Overall

Andrew Neilsen, 65th Overall

Martins Dzierkals, 68th Overall

Jesper Lindgren, 95th Overall

Dmytro Timashov, 125th Overall

Stephen Desrocher, 155th Overall

Nikita Korostelev, 185th Overall

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  • Gary Empey

    The leafs management newness to managing a team is showing with their inability to find value for Phaneuf, Bozak and Kessel in a trade. I feel they are playing it “safe” and ultimately that will lead to a medicore team and rebuild as opposed to going for it which will end in failure (ala a chance of auston matthews) or success (a strong run a the cup). This playing it safe will have the leafs continue to be a wild card team or slightly better but not amount to much.

      • silentbob

        I bet you said the same thing about patience and waiting to see how thing turned out last year when Shanny and co extended Randy Carlyle after that collapse.

        I stand by my theory that they are playing it safe until they make moves to show that they are not. This IS and continues to be there modus operandi. And this line of thinking to me is more logical then “assuming” that everything will be great if we keep up with the patience positive spin stuff.

        Wait did I mention that Randy Carlyle was extended last year? #playing it safe

          • FlareKnight

            No one is saying to trade for the sake of trading except you to make your point stronger because it is weak so I get what you are saying here. But you can see how better GMs get value for their players in a trade (say sens with Lehner) whereas bruins seemed to made a series poor moves.

            The leafs moves (well non-moves) are somewhere between those two extremes. Average – mediocre – not newsworthy. This is a half full cup you think if overflowing when it is not. It is half full, not empty but just half full.

            Now if things change and the leafs can craft deals that glean value for their players then my tune will change but until then I will stick with my opinion that has been accurate ever since they extended randy caryle.

          • CMpuck

            It’s June 27th and you’re expecting the roster to be set.

            The Lehner example is misleading. Buffalo over paid for a goalie because their next option is a tire fire.

            Shanny and co. have made excellent move after excellent move. Let’s give this some time before we start making final assessments.

        • silentbob

          If Kessel and Phaneuf and Lupul and bozak etc.. Are leafs next year I’ll be the firstne to be critical of them for that. It’s just too early for that now.

        • CMpuck

          ugh shut up. don’t just trade kessel and phaneuf for garbage like the bruins did to hamilton. a consistent 30+ goal scorer on a bad team and a top 4 well-rounded, big minute defender don’t grow on trees. use them properly and let them have a huge bounce back year under babcock and trade them for 2016 1st round picks. why would you trade them when they just had the worst season in their careers and undersell them… it makes no sense.

        • silentbob

          Plus they tried to sign Bolland. What a disaster that would have been. Color me unimpressed, I don’t know many of these picks, seen them on tv now and then thats it. But I saw many teams improve the skill level, the Leafs weren’t one of those teams. We were supposed to get high end picks for our rotten core (just wait till the draft) what did we get? Crickets. I hope I’m wrong, but the last 30 gms last yr were some of the worst hockey i’ve ever seen and I don’t want to see it again.

  • FlareKnight

    For a 7th round pick this is a good one to take a chance on. Certainly there are reasons he fell this far, but you should take risks with this kind of pick. Try to work on his defensive commitment and improve his game overall.

      • CMpuck

        Did they really draft anyone you like outside of Marner?

        I really would have liked Kylington and/or a trade to put a Connor or Barzel or really any centers in our system.

        • TGT23

          Bracco is a pretty good pick, IMO. He’s intriguing and I look forward to seeing him develop.

          I understand the reservations on Dermott but his report doesn’t make me think he can’t be a very good piece in the future. Maybe a nice partner for Percy on the 2nd pairing (unless that’s Gardiner’s future)

          And I get why you’d have maybe liked someone else, like that big C you keep telling us is 100% necessary to get right this second (presumably because they’ll cease to exist next draft?), but I didn’t hate any of the picks. Not all were optimal but at least I can see the upside and the thinking unlike it some past drafts with Nonis.

          There were a couple guys I’d have liked more, Calgary having stolen Kylington JUST in front of the Leafs, but all in all it was a solid, if perhaps unexceptional draft.

          Grade it a B but with an A- upside.

          • CMpuck

            Well if no trades are made have to give this off season a C

            I don’t hate any pick, like that they collected a bunch of blueliners. Ok with Dermott (like the Faulk comparison) just would have liked Kylington (Calgary had an A draft weekend).

            Loading up on blueliners behind a Hanifin-Rielly or Reilly-Provorov top four would have had me drooling though.

      • Gary Empey

        The days of those big forwards lumbering around the are almost over. eg; Tyler Biggs, Jamie Devane

        High speed and skill are where the game has been slowly heading for years now.

        That neutral zone trap nearly killed the game.

        Enforcers are gone.

        Hard nosed stay at home defencemen almost gone.

        Take your helmet off. The war has been over for years now. Just joking there.

  • Gary Empey

    Obviously an intelligent leaf fan, no it is not an oxymoron, will give a grade to the 2015 draft in a few years when the kids have matured and thus we shall see how many make the big club.

    Classic case is the comments on Gauthier for the past couple of years have been quite positive in regards to his defensive ability, face offs and physical size. Now it seems he is being down graded to some degree.

    The leafs had a game plan of getting more draft picks which makes sense and succeeds in placating the fans to some degree. The Canucks have bragged for months how they would get quality back for Eddie Lack with at least one high pick. Unfortunately for the Canucks management they had to enter the real world as they could only muster a third round pick and a 7th for next year. But their plan with their newbie management was to get more draft picks.

    The team that intrigued me was Boston as once again a rookie G.M. felt he had to impress the home town media and fans by gaining a number of draft picks. Double pressure on Sweeney because his counter part with the Boston Celtics, Danny Ainge has first round picks coming out of his yin yang. Poor Sweeney rushed over the cliff by getting rid of Hamilton, you remember he was drafted 9th as some team gave up their first rounder. Hamilton was already developing into a big sound defensive defenceman. Then he proceeded to trade off the enforcer who had an off season. So Sweeney gets a hat trick of three first mid round picks. It looks impressive but the general feeling was that he made a colossal error.

    The main positive about this year’s leaf picks is that the drafting can’t be any worse than the past number of years with few picks past the first round seeing the light of the N.H.L.

    But for 30 N.H.L. teams and 30 N.B.A. teams the past couple of days have come up smelling roses. It is always the case in the last week of June. It takes a few years before the smell of rot sets in for a significant number of teams. One can hope and pray that a couple years from now the odour will be fresh for the leaf management. We shall indeed see.

    • TGT23

      I mostly agree with you.

      You cant give a final grade for years to come. You can however grade something at the time it happens based on what you know then and then go back and revise the grade with hindsight later.

      A grade is not locked in for eternity.

      I’m sure you well know, as intelligent as you are, that minds can be changed when new information comes to light. Hindsight becomes a thing and the way you think at one time changes based on all of the new information.

      Like… Analytics… Right? You thought the game one way for a very long time, then new information gets presented that proves a different way of looking at things, and your opinion changes accordingly.

      That’s the beauty of being intelligent. You get to be wrong and then change your mind and revise your way of thinking. No intelligent person is stuck in one way of thinking their entire life. They evolve.

      The only truly unintelligent people are those who refuse to admit they are wrong and don’t evolve over time.

      Which is why I said B- with potential. It also has potential to go the other way. Much like Gauthier.

  • jasken

    This kid to me is either a topliner or nothing at all I am hoping for the former. Great skill set one of best shots in the draft his flaws seem to shine more than his abilities. He works on his defevensive game, and work ethic he has that potential to be a gamebreaker.

    He went above 100 because of what the scouts saw and what his coaches information to the GMs about the type of person and player he is. Like previous commenters I reserve judgement on this draft lets see them do the same when the draft is not so deep. Lets see if they can turn this kid into a topliner that he has the potential to be. It’s one thing to draft well and get talent but now the real work begins developing, harnessing and making those players what they should be NHLers.