With the 2012 NHL draft creeping up quite fast and the Finals almost over, draft / trade speculation is going to start like a wildfire. So, I thought I would write a small piece about who Burke should draft (1st round), in my opinion of course.
1) Draft either Galchenyuk or Grigorenko, whichever of the two will be available. Galchenyuk, from what I've read, is the better player to pick and if Yakupov wasn't in the draft, he could have been the #1 overall pick. He thrived with Yakupov in 2011 and looked amazing paired with him. The only question others have about him is if he only played well beside such an amazing player. This, quite frankly, is a poor excuse to think he might be a bust. He's shown before he was drafted 1st in the OHL draft that he could score with the best. He's been best compared to Evgeni Malkin, which is a great comparison. Any team would want a guy like this, and if he falls to the 5th pick, I will be upset if the leafs don't take him. If he isn't available, however, I believe they should take the RW/C Grigorenko. People have questioned his work ethic, and that could prove to be his major downfall. But they can't deny the kid has talent. He led all rookies in the QMJHL with 85 points (in only 59 games). He had a lackluster quarter final exit with the Ramparts, registering only 10 points in 11 games. However, he discovered afterwards that he had been diagnosed with Mono. This, in my opinion, shows his spirit; instead of sitting out, he continued playing. Even though he thought it was only the flu, it would have been bad. Of all the players, he seems to have the highest ceiling. It seems like it would be a high risk high reward type of pick, and that's what I would like to see Burke do.
2) IF (big if) neither of them are available, take Mathew Dumba or Griffin Reinhart. I love the flare in Dumba. He's not the biggest defenseman, and yet he plays like he is. He LOVES to throw his body around, and can lead a PP with ease. Reinhart on the other hard is sorta the opposite scale; hes a big boy with a booming shot. He's been compared to Shea Weber, and look at how sought after he is. However, I wouldn't take them over the previously mentioned, as the Leafs biggest need is a centerman or goaltender, and goaltenders are too risky.
3) Trade away spare pieces for a Mid-Late 1st round pick, and take a goalie. I have a feeling Subban, Dansk and Vasilevski won't be around by the 35th pick, and the Leafs could use always use a goaltending prospect for the future. Of the three, I would take Vasilevski, Subban then Dansk, depending on who's available ( I don't know that much about Dansk, so he COULD be the better choice).
Now, today I've been hearing rumors of Burke talking about trading for the 1st pick, and taking Yakupov and Galchenyuk, much like what he did in 1999 with the Sedins. As awesome as that would be, I don't think it will ever happen. Edmonton would want a hell of a lot to trade away the 1st round pick, and I think Columbus would go the extra mile to get the pick. I'm thinking it would be something like next years 1st round pick, 2nd round pick, Schenn and Frattin. It gives Edmonton a young, defensive defensemen, a good two-way forward and two picks for next year. It sounds a lot like what we gave up for Kessel, and if they are going to give that much, I would rather Burke take a run at signing Carey Price to a contract.
So theres my thoughts. Also, my first blog. YAY!
Edit: People are suggesting Faksa over Grig. While Faksa is probably the safer pick, Grig seems like he could develop into the #1 center the Leafs desperately need, while Faksa is a good #2 looking center.