The Maple Leafs Need to Select Travis Konecny At 24

Travis Konecny
Travis Konecny: CHL Top Prospects game MVP (Photo: OHL Images)

When Toronto acquired a first round pick from the Nashville Predators, it was praised as an excellent move for the organization. As the draft quickly approaches, the pick looks to be even more valuable. The 2015 draft class is supposedly incredibly deep, and the first round is filled with potential NHL stars in the making.

Toronto owns the 24th overall pick, which was courtesy of the aforementioned trade with Nashville. There are guaranteed to be some excellent prospects available at that spot, but one stands out above the rest. He’s viewed as a leader, scorer and hard-nosed player. I’m talking about Travis Konecny.

Who is Travis Konecny?

He was drafted as the Ontario Hockey League’s Ottawa 67’s first overall in the 2013 OHL Priority Selection Draft. He was taken ahead of notable names such as projected top-five picks Dylan Strome and Mitch Marner, Kingston forward Lawson Crouse, and Sean Day, who is one of the few players to be granted exceptional player status thus far.

His first season in Ottawa saw him put up 70 points in 63 games en route to winning the Emms Family Award as the league’s rookie of the year. At the start of the 2014-15 campaign he was named the team captain of the 67’s and led his club to a 38-25-4 record, while scoring 68 points in 60 games. The native of Clachan, Ontario, was also the captain of Canada’s team for 2014 U18 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup tournament. Under his leadership, the team was able to win gold.

What Could He Bring to the Maple Leafs?

The Maple Leafs are going through a complete overhaul of their roster and prospects. They need players that are talented, dependable and who are not afraid to lead by example. Konecny fits that mold perfectly.

He has excellent vision and speed and uses both to create scoring chances and opportunities for his teammates. Konecny isn’t the biggest guy on the ice and only stands at 5’10 and around 180 pounds. Many would see that as a knock against him. However, he plays a big game and isn’t afraid to drive the net, go into the dirty areas and throw big hits.

He’s the type of player that the Maple Leafs would love to have in their organization. He never gives up, leads by example with his play on the ice and is reliable in all three zones. His game has been compared to former 67’s and current NHL stars Logan Couture and Sean Monahan. That is some incredibly high praise.

Depending on NHL teams and their player needs, Konecny may not be available by the time the Leafs come up with the 24th pick. In mock drafts, he has been slated to be taken from anywhere as high as 13th, to as low as 28th. In the event that he is on the board however, the Blue and White should waste no time in selecting him. The franchise is finally going in a positive direction and having a player like Konecny waiting in the wings would only serve to strengthen the new foundation.