This is blog number 2. I got a few good comments so I decided to write again. Like before I welcome your comments and feedback.
When the leafs won the NHL draft lottery I went crazy, so crazy that I accidentally woke up my roommate. ( Whoops ) But really, what guy in his early 20s is asleep at like 8pm on a Saturday.
This draft has the ability to give the leafs their first franchise centre since Mats Sundin. I'll admit I didn't see to much of Mats but I saw enough to realize he was a pretty damn good player.
In my opinion, The selection of Auston Mathews is obvious and the supposed debate between him and Patrik Laine is just pointless chatter from the media because they have nothing else to talk about. This pointless debate has been more front and centre this year in comparison to other draft years because the Leafs are by far and away the hockey mecca of the world. In my view Mark Hunter and staff new who they where taking the minute they won the lottery.
Now in my opinion what Leaf fans should be talking more about is the 30th and 31st overall selections in the draft. ( Yes that was a subtle hint saying that I think the sharks will lose game 5 )
With those picks the Leafs and their scouting staff could go any number of different directions. Now if the leafs do keep those picks and don't move them to acquire a player or move up in the draft etc etc. In my opinion they should be looking for defence man and a goalie.
Everyone has there own views on who they think the Leafs should take in that spot. My personal view is that they should take 1 defence man and 1 goalie. But that is debatable because goalies are a bit of a crap shoot and everyone knows it. Now the Leafs could also trade a prospect(s) or player(s) for an additional 2nd rounder and pick a goalie in the say middle of the second round instead. Regardless I'm still an advocate of selecting a goalie with one of those two picks because it is a position of need within the organization.
The top rated goalies this year from what I can tell are: Evan Fitzpatrick, Carter Heart, Filip Gustavsson, and Tyler Parsons. I really don't know who I would choose if it was me drafting and not Mark Hunter. But I would probably stay away from Tyler Parsons because he played in front of such a strong London Knights team and in my opinion anyone can look good playing goal in front of a great team. ( Cough Ben Scrivens LA Cough ) Evan Fitzpatrick had bad numbers this year but that is apparently an aberration, and he is an exceptional goaltender.
Carter Hart had good numbers this past year, and is a Strong goaltending prospect. I was unable to find much on Filip Gustavsson other than the fact he is consistently rated among the first or second goaltenders to be taken at the draft. Based on What I know about each of the top 4 goaltending prospects, I would like the leafs to take either Carter Hart or Filip Gustavsson with either the 30th or 31st pick in this years draft.
Now projecting a good defence man to be taken that late in the draft is just that, a projection, a hope. Since defenders like Jacob Chychrun, Mikhail Sergachev, and Olli Juolevi will obviously be drafted in the first half of the first round, Although you never know ( cough Seth Jones cough ). When Projecting an available defence man I will leave them out.
Leafs fans should look more to guys like Dante Fabbro, Charles McAvoy, Cam Dineen and maybe even Jake bean. Although It would probably be a stretch to see these guys other than Cam Dineen available this late.
I would love to see the leafs package together picks and or prospects to move up maybe 5 - 10 spots to get one of these guys as they have quite a few skilled forward prospects already in the organization. As well as the fact that it takes defence man a lot longer to develop than a forward. We could draft one of these guys and not see them for 2 or 3 years, by which time the leafs should be competitive and having a top 4 d man on and entry level deal would be huge.
Not to mention that in 3 years, Jake Gardiner will be 29 so he would still be in his prime and young enough that he could fetch us a good trade return. Especially considering he will still be on his current contract that has a cap hit of just over 4 million per year which is incredible value. I'm not saying the leafs will trade Jake Gardiner but it is a potential option years down the road if leafs wanted to go that route to get younger or for salary cap reasons.