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It is never to early to get excited about the draft, especially if
you are a Leafs fan.
In 2015, the new-look Maple Leafs clearly showed that they are good at drafting because they went for skill and speed instead of size and grit and traded one of their most overpaid players, (Phil Kessel) for future picks and prospects. The 2015 draft was clearly a success but the Maple Leafs need to follow certain rules in order to make the 2016 draft a success.
First of all, the Maple Leafs must take a talented, top pairing defenseman with one of their current 1st round picks in the 2016 draft because, they do not have another young top pairing defenseman besides Morgan Rielly with the big club, nor do they have one in the system. Also, their prospect pool is dominated by talented forwards and they passed on a top pairing defenseman for a good reason in 2015, so, they must take a Defenseman in 2016.
Secondly, the Maple Leafs must take an elite goalie with one of their potential late 1st round picks (they could try to acquire some picks via trade), or more likely their early 2nd round pick because their current goaltending situation remains uncertain and they do not have any future elite goalies in their prospect system. Even if their current goaltending situation gets fixed, the Maple Leafs must make adding a young elite goaltender a top priority.
Additionally, the Leafs must choose quality over quantity in this year's draft because they could get more A prospects with their potential late 1st round picks (they could acquire some picks via trade) and that could help the Leafs resist the method of tanking in the future. Also, the Leafs must avoid tanking because they could end up like the Edmonton Oilers and fail to make the playoffs year after year.
Lastly, the Leafs should trade players who are over the age of 26/27 for picks because they will be too old by the time the Maple Leafs are competitive and players like Dion Phaneuf, James Reimer and Tyler Bozak have boosted their trade value this year so the Leafs should deal them before the draft starts. Also, the Leafs should deal their highest valued players with expiring contracts for picks because they will be too old for the rebuild, they boosted their value and they need to make room for guys like William Nylander, Mitch Marner (they both have strong chances to make the team next year) and potentially Jimmy Vesey and Auston Matthews (if we get both of those players of course).
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