Don Cherry has a message for new Leaf president Brendan Shanahan: draft Canadians and players from the OHL if you ever want to challenge for a Stanley Cup.
During his first Coach’s Corner segment of the Hockey Night in Canada season, Cherry ripped the Leafs' brass for picking European and U.S. college players at the 2014 NHL draft, while the Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings filled their draft with Canadian players.
“We have the Stanley Cup champions, who have won two out of three Stanley Cups, right? Their [roster is] full of Canadians, full of guys from the OHL and they win two out of three," said Cherry. "How many Canadians did the Leafs draft? Zero. No stars will every come here to Toronto. Why would you? You have to go through the draft. They have not had an impact guy since Wendel Clark [drafted first overall in 1985].
Cherry’s biggest beef was Toronto passing on Peterborough Petes winger Nick Ritchie in the first round in favour of Swedish William Nylander at No. 8. The Ducks scooped up Ritchie two picks later.
“They passed on a guy, Nick Ritchie, who is 6-foot-3, 230 pounds [and had] 100 minutes in penalties. Oh, you’re going to say he’s a dummy. Only three guys in the whole draft scored more goals than this guy. And guess who picked him up right after that… Anaheim.”
Watch Don let the Leafs have it.
Cherry didn't get a lot of backing on Twitter.
Don Cherry says the Leafs should've picked Ritchie, and that Nylander was sent back to Sweden "to save his life". Starts Rogers era strong..— @Jeffler
Don Cherry just laying into William Nylander because Sweden— @AndrewBerkshire
What Don Cherry forgot: Slovenian is Kings best C. Quick is American. Gaborik, Voynov aren't Canadian.— @simmonssteve
for all the Don Cherry haters out there..he's been involved with hockey for over 6 decades. Let me know when you have a comparable pedigree— @Oaks__