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I’ll also take a look at youngster John Fusco, who was drafted in the seventh round of the 2020 NHL Draft in October. What’s interesting about Fusco is that he’s a Maple Leafs prospect who comes from a family with a successful history of playing hockey at the NCAA college level and at the Olympic level with the USA team. .
First point: what happened to Jeremy Bracco?
Jeremy Bracco has remained a puzzle for me. I had always supported him so that he at least had the opportunity to make his NHL debut with the Maple Leafs; however, this never happened. Now he’s moved on. Certainly Bracco’s path to Maple Leafs training was blocked by a long line of talented right-wingers; however, I am surprised that he has never skated once with the big club.
His 2018-19 season with the Toronto Marlies was the kind of breakout season that could have propelled Bracco to a place on the Maple Leafs roster. After all, he has scored 22 goals and 57 assists for 79 points in 75 games. Yet no beginnings.
Last season his score slipped slightly and confusing things seemed to be happening. For personal reasons, he was absent from the Marlies for a number of games. But, on his return, he could still score. In 44 games, he collected four goals and 30 assists (for 34 points).
Obviously, Bracco came over to read the writing on the wall more clearly and asked GM Kyle Dubas to swap it. That trade never materialized and this season the Maple Leafs simply failed to qualify him in the offseason, leaving him free to move on.
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So where did it land? In late October, Bracco signed a one-year, two-way contract with the Carolina Hurricanes. It looks like the Hurricanes were ready to take a flyer on this fast skating winger with an intermittent scoring touch. The fact that he signed a two-way contract doesn’t hurt Bracco any worse, but maybe no better than he was with the Maple Leafs organization.
Still, it’s a new start for the young prospect. And it didn’t cost the Hurricanes much to sign him. He will earn $ 700,000 if he plays at the NHL level and $ 100,000 if he plays in minors.
Bracco was chosen in the third round (61st overall) of the 2015 NHL Draft – the same draft that took Maple Leafs Mitch Marner in the first round (fourth overall). Bracco’s skating is his strength; and, at one point, he was expected to be part of the Maple Leafs’ future attacking core. Obviously that never happened. Still, if you’re a fan of the youngster, you have to hope he can at least make his NHL debut or even change his game to Carolina.
I doubt the Hurricanes have any expectations that Bracco can play regularly in the NHL. The Hurricanes are a talented team, and Bracco should spend his time with their Chicago Wolves AHL. In this shot, it’s like his time with the Marlies.
One difference is that the Hurricanes affiliate team is located in another state and does not share the same training facilities as the Hurricanes. So Bracco might not be remembered all that often that he hasn’t made his NHL debut yet.
Point two: Like a father like a son, who is the Maple Leafs draft pick, John Fusco?
Sometimes the lower-round draft picks are found in the NHL, but that’s usually not the case. However, with seven rounds picking and each of the 31 NHL teams choosing during those rounds, it’s crazy not to take a risk on a young player from the lower rounds – just in case.
Truly, with the thousands of junior, college and other hockey players up for grabs, being one of 217 players to hear your name called by an NHL team – regardless of the round – must be thrilling.
So when the Maple Leafs called out the name John Fusco with their first pick in the seventh round of the 2020 NHL Draft on October 7, at least one family was elated. Fusco, a 19-year-old defenseman, has in many ways been typical of Dubas’ picks since becoming general manager of the Maple Leafs.
Young Fusco is obviously a smart player. He was on his way to Harvard University before the Ivy League school announced the end of its season on November 12. As a result, without college hockey and because the NCAA allows players who are not over 20 to play in the USHL. Without losing eligibility, the newly drafted Fusco will play for USHL’s Sioux City this season. His plans now include starting his career at Harvard next year.
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Interestingly, young John Fusco comes from great hockey lines. His father, Mark, also played at Harvard University, was a member of the United States team in the 1984 Olympic Winter Games in Sarajevo, and then played two seasons in the NHL with the Hartford Whalers in 1983. -84 and 1984-85.
John Scott’s uncle (Fusco) also attended Harvard; and, while there, he won the Hobey Baker Award in 1986. He, too, was a member of the hockey team for the 1984 Winter Olympics of Team USA and the 1984 Winter Olympics. 1988 in Calgary.
John Lilley, the Maple Leafs’ director of amateur scouting, loved Fusco’s 2020 selection because of his competitive advantage and leadership. Considering how the season is going with the cancellation of Ivy League and Fusco hockey playing in Sioux Falls, the Maple Leafs will have five years to see how the young 5-foot-11, 181-pound defenseman develops. .
By the way, John’s dad, Mark, was also a defender and was smaller in stature as well. His playing weight was 5 feet 9 inches and weighed 175 pounds.
What’s new with the Maple Leafs?
Above all, NHL fans should be optimistic about the start of the 2020-2021 season. Not all news is rosy, however. In fact, I read today that NHLPA General Manager Donald Fehr and NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman haven’t spoken in a week about the NHL’s demands that players make wage concessions for the season 2020-2021.
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If these two parts darken, what are the real odds that a season will start near the 2021 calendar year premiere? I keep an eye on the news; and I hope I don’t get pessimistic. Again, ….
More news to come.