Stuart Percy, the 25th overall pick at the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, has been a pleasant surprise for Toronto, making the team out of training camp and playing well through his first five big-league contests.
Similar success, however, has eluded the guy taken three spots before Percy: Tyler Biggs.
Biggs, the 22nd overall selection that year — “he arrives on time and in a bad mood,” then-GM Brian Burke said at the time — has failed to live up to the promise that saw Toronto trade up to Anaheim’s spot just to take him. Last year, his first full campaign in the AHL, was a disappointment; the 21-year-old had just seven goals and nine points in 57 games, which was followed by an early cut from Leafs camp this fall and last week’s demotion to ECHL Orlando.
More, from CP’s Kyle Cicerella:
“He’s got to go and maybe play out of the spotlight that we have here in Toronto, he just has to go find his game,” said Marlies coach Gord Dineen. “Sometimes he really felt the onus of being a top pick, the recognition of him. He’s got to go down there and just get back to his attributes that got him here in the first place.”
“There’s a lot of media here, a lot of recognition of where guys are placed. I would think it’s on him a little bit whether it’s from agents, fans or wherever. It wasn’t placed from our management group. Everybody has their own learning curve and knowing Tyler he’ll do his best to get there.”
Biggs isn’t the only Burke signature that’s struggled to fit in the current regime. Frazer McLaren and Colton Orr — two pugilists that brought the pugnacity and truculence Burke desired — were waived just prior to the regular season, and are now skating with the Marlies.