Leafs Waiting For Compensation

It’s surely no surprise for those who’re following the Toronto Maple Leafs and the 2016 NHL Entry Draft, but on Wednesday the team announced that they will be holding onto their third-round pick for the upcoming draft.

As it stands, the Leafs owe the Detroit Red Wings a compensation pick (a third rounder in either 2016 or 2017) for plucking Mike Babcock from their team and owe the New Jersey Devils another compensation pick (a third rounder in 2016, 2017 or 2018) for landing Lou Lamoriello as their general manager.

These moves were made – of course – prior to the NHL removing the compensatory pick rule that forced teams to give up a draft pick in order to hire a coach or member of upper management while they were still under contract with another franchise.

That being said, the league will automatically issue the picks to Detroit and New Jersey – with the Wings receiving the Leafs 2017 third-round pick and the Devils looking forward to an extra third-round pick in 2018.

Working Around Maple Leafs’ Compensation?

There is, however, a way to alter the compensation. As it reads, according to General Fanager, “one condition on the draft picks is that the pick must be either the team’s own selection, or a selection higher in the round than their own pick.”

Lou Lamoriello Maple Leafs
The Leafs will owe the Devils a 2018 third-round pick compensating for their hiring of Lou Lamoriello. (Photo by Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports)

For example, if the Leafs pick were to pick fifth overall in the third round in 2017, the pick that goes to Detroit would have to be their own (fifth overall) or a third-round pick that is higher than theirs – therefore one of the top-four selections.

However, as was the case in 2015, the Oilers owed the Sharks a third-round selection for hiring head coach Todd McLellan. The Oilers – who picked third – had previously traded their third round pick and did not have anything higher in that particular round. They were therefore forced to hand over their third round pick in 2016 to the Sharks.

The Oilers, however, did have St. Louis’ third-round pick in 2015 which was far lower in the round than their own. The Sharks had interest in the pick and the two teams worked out a deal that involved Edmonton getting their 2016 pick back in return for the later-round St. Louis pick (which they sent to San Jose).

In this case, both franchises would have to agree to some kind of deal. Otherwise, the compensation rules do remain in place.

With the depth of the 2016 NHL Draft, it’s no wonder the Leafs aren’t looking to hand over any picks. With that in mind, however, they will be forced to hand over draft picks in the following two years.