It is my belief that the Leafs will not be trading up in this draft. The teams in front of them are just too desperate to get a highly touted prospect... The Islanders will go for the option of selling tickets before looking for the future of the franchise, and Tavares will probably go first... Even though to me, it looks like Duchene and Hedman look like they will develop into better players than Tavares... But hey, I can’t predict the future.
ANYWAYS, the Lightning need Hedman to lead their new defensive core. Trust me, if they pick Duchene over him, it wouldn’t be the end of the world, but they can’t rely on Paul Ranger forever... The Avalanche will never pass up on Duchene. He’s just too complete a player and will only develop into an ultimate power in the UNIVERSE! Well... maybe not, but still, I can see him maturing into one of the best players to come out of this draft. The Thrashers need a player who can play alongside Kovalchuk, and Schenn or Kane will get the job done. In my opinion, in LA, nobody really cares who they pick for a number of reasons, so they MAY trade the pick and Kane or Schenn could fall into the laps of the Leafs. I strongly doubt the Leafs will tender a strong enough offer to get that pick. The Coyotes really really really need a good strong big defenseman, and I think that Cowan may be taken here. They won’t give up this pick because they really need it to pick up an elite prospect so that they could sell some seats... Whoever goes there... Welcome to the new jungle my friend.
So that leaves us with the Leafs. I think that one of the hyphenated Swedes will go to the Leafs. Ekman-Larsson, or Paajarvi-Svensson will be our targets. Anyone who suggests Burke doesn’t like Europeans should check his draft record... They may all be busts... but he picked them! So it counts. These are great prospects to have. No question. I would LOVE to see one (or both) of these guys on the team.
So. It’s draft day in about 2 hours. What could happen? The chances of the Leafs moving up are slim. But you never know. If they can’t, AND they miss out on Jared Cowan to the Coyotes, then I would suggest moving down. The Islanders moved from 7th to 9th last year and got a second rounder with it. So if the Leafs traded with a team like Minnesota who need a guy like Paajarvi-Svennson, or Buffalo who could use Ekman-Larsson, the Leafs could potentially squeeze their first round picks out of them, as well as a second rounder, and possibly more... And the Leafs could settle with a guy like Kassian, or Schroeder, or maybe even Ryan Ellis (who I am very questionable of...). I would be happy with any of those names. No question.
Alright well, if the Leafs DO trade down, I wouldn’t be heartbroken, and nor shall you. My best case scenario is a situation where the Leafs have 2 top 20 picks, at LEAST. Hopefully top 15, as the top 15 picks here are better than many many other draft classes. So all I’m saying is to not flip out if the Leafs trade down if they lose the shot at Cowan or Schenn. There are many good prospects. So calm yourselves.
And to think. If the Leafs had LOST that last game of the season... They would have 5th overall. They say you have to come out and play every game... But WHY not JUST one game? Come onnnnn...
Sorry for the long blog absence Leafspace...