Maple Leafs Need to Acquire Another Top Ten Pick

2015 NHL Draft Logo

The 2015 NHL Entry Draft is fast approaching. NHL teams have been scouting and preparing for this day for quite some time. This upcoming draft is reported to be one of the deepest in recent years. There are many talented, young players who are hoping to hear their name called by a team.

The top ten features some legitimate superstars, rising leaders and rock-solid defensemen. The Toronto Maple Leafs hold the fourth-overall pick. In terms of the players they can take at that position, they have many interesting options. As stated before, this draft is going to be a deep one. That is why the Maple Leafs need to figure out a way to secure a second top-ten pick.

How Would They Do It?

Getting a team to give up their high pick is no easy feat. It’s the law of equal exchange. To obtain a high pick, you need to trade away something of equal value. What could the Maple Leafs trade that could fetch them back that coveted pick? One name that immediately comes to mind is Phil Kessel.

It’s been reported that the Blue and White are attempting to trade the vaunted sniper before the draft next week. If this is indeed true, he would probably guarantee a solid return for the Maple Leafs. There are eight teams he would reportedly accept a trade to. Those clubs include Montreal, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Minnesota and the New York Rangers.

Of those listed teams, only the Flyers have a top-ten pick in this year’s draft. They could attempt to trade him to a Los Angeles or Boston, which hold the 13th and 14 picks respectively and then try to package one of those picks and a player to move into the top ten.

There are many options and scenarios for the team moving forward with Kessel. Identifying which of them is plausible is the real challenge.

Who Would They Take If A Trade Happens?

Ivan Provorov
Ivan Provorov is among the top defenseman available for the 2015 NHL entry draft. (Photo: Dan and Margaret Hickling)

Let’s take a moment and speculate. Assume that the Maple Leafs are able to unload Kessel and make a deal that somehow gets them into a position to draft another player in the five to seven range. After taking Marner, Strome or Hanifin at four, I think they should look at drafting Ivan Provorov of the Brandon Wheat Kings.

The Russian is a complete defenseman who is able to play in any and all situations on the ice. He has great poise, skating and passing skills and is considered a game-breaking type of player. Defensemen of Provorov’s talent are difficult to find. In 60 games this past season for the WHL’s Wheat Kings, he managed 15 goals and 46 assists for a grand total of 61 points.

In a perfect world, the rebuilding Maple Leafs would be able to secure another high pick and add both a dynamic forward and defenseman to their growing crop of young prospects. Coming out of the first round with two highly regarded prospects, plus whoever the Maple Leafs take at number 24, assuming they keep the pick, would be a great way to kick off the Shanahan rebuild in earnest.

A lot is going to happen in the week leading up to the draft. If the Buds are truly committed to this new franchise rebuild, going big and making a huge splash is truly the only way to go.