The 2015 NHL Draft will not have any mystery surrounding the first two selections. However, once Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel are off the board. There will be lots of questions, particularly around the Toronto Maple Leafs and who they’ll pick.
Of course, it really depends on what the Arizona Coyotes do with their third overall pick. They could trade their pick, but the odds are that they’ll keep it. They’ll either pick Dylan Strome or Noah Hanifin, with a small chance of taking Mitch Marner to reunite him with Max Domi.
The Leafs will have to react to whatever the Coyotes do and who is selected. Here’s who will the Leafs will do, given all the possible scenarios.
If Arizona Takes Hanifin or Marner: Dylan Strome
If Strome is available when the Leafs pick, there is no way that the Leafs should pass him up. He might not be the franchise center that McDavid or Eichel, but he could be still be a pretty good No. 1 center. He also has the size that none of the Leafs current centers have.
While a lot of Leaf fans would like to see Strome put on a Leafs jersey at the draft, this is the least likely scenario.
If Arizona Takes Strome: Mitch Marner
While there are some, including myself, that believe that the Leafs should take Hanifin if they can’t take Strome, the connection between Marner and Mark Hunter will be too much to turn down. Marner was second in OHL scoring this past season and would have been first had Strome not surpassed him in Erie’s final game of the season.
With all the comparisons that Marner has garnered, to Patrick Kane in particular, he definitely won’t be a bad pick. The thing is, building from the wing out hasn’t really worked out for the Leafs the past few years now has it.
If The Leafs Trade Down: Ivan Provorov
Now, if the Leafs make a trade to acquire a second-round pick, it would be not be surprising to see it involving the Leafs trading down from the fourth overall pick. With the mandate of acquiring multiple picks for this draft and in the future, this is an avenue that the Leafs could very well go down.
If the Leafs do this, don’t be surprised to see the Leafs go after Ivan Provorov. Some think that Provorov might actually be better than Hanifin. Even with the Leafs defensive depth with the Marlies, Provorov would give the Leafs another high-end defenseman to go along with Morgan Rielly.