Everyone knows that the Toronto Maple Leafs will more than likely not fail with their first pick. It’s very hard to find a bust when you’re picking in the top five of the NHL Draft.
With the fourth pick in the draft, the Leafs will probably end up with one of either Noah Hanifin, Dylan Strome or Mitch Marner. No matter which one, the Leafs will have a great prospect with that pick. Strome and Marner could make the Leafs within two seasons, while Hanifin might take a little longer because defensemen usually take a bit longer to develop. Anyone of those three will improve the Leafs roster whenever they make the lineup.
Now, the thing that will be hard for the Leafs is finding a high-end player with their second first round pick. While still in the first round, the success rate of the Leafs in the second half the opening round isn’t that good. If the player was any good, the would usually trade them away. Brad Boyes comes to mind. The most recent late pick was Frederik Gauthier, who they took in 2013. He’s still at least one year away.
A Deep Draft This Year
It has been known for a long time that the 2015 NHL Draft is one of the deepest in recent memory. That in and of itself should help the Leafs come out with a good player.
With the Leafs rebuilding, the Leafs need to make smart decisions. The better the Leafs draft in the next few years, the shorter the rebuild will take. The Leafs need to take advantage of having two picks in the first-round in a deep draft. With the Nashville Predators being eliminated in the first round of the playoffs, that pick will be no lower than than the 21st pick.
A couple of days ago, Leafs assistant general manager Kyle Dubas was on Sportsnet’s Brady & Walker show and talked about the draft. He mentioned that he and Mark Hunter are putting more focus on the Nashville pick, evaluating a lot of players in the mid-20’s range of picks. He also mentions that the Leafs just don’t want to take a ‘safe’ player that will play in the lower end of the lineup. That should be a relief to a lot of Leafs fans.
Could the Leafs end up taking a player like Travis Konecny, the captain of the Ottawa 67’s? Maybe defenseman Oliver Kylington, the highest rated European skater in the draft? Whoever the Leafs end up taking, Nashville being eliminated sure helped them in their quest to get a better player with that pick.