Photo Credit: Bill Streicher/USA TODAY Sports
This afternoon, Brendan Shanahan said something that made me very happy.
Shanahan wouldn’t rule out moving up or down with 4th overall pick, but “Right now we’re expecting to pick fourth.”
— Jonas Siegel (@jonasTSN1050) June 25, 2015
I’ve been told by a lot of different people lately that the Toronto Maple Leafs really like the Brandon Wheat Kings’ Ivan Provorov. So much so in fact, that they might trade down a couple spots where they still believe they could get him, and pick up an additional asset. I’m not so sure that’s a good idea.
The Leafs wouldn’t be fools to find Provorov particularly intriguing. A 6’0, 200lb left-shooting blueliner, Provorov scored 15 goals and 61 points in 60 games for Brandon this season, his first in the WHL. Many smart people believe that he has the most offensive upside of any defender in the 2015 Draft, and some of them even believe he will develop into the best of the whole draft class (sorry Noah Hanifin).
If Toronto really feels that strongly about Provorov, or any other player for that matter, then I suppose it might make some sense to work out a deal with a team almost immediately behind them, drop down a few spots, get their guy and gain another pick. Even then, there’s no guarantee that the player you covet will still be available if you leave it up to chance.
Really, the Leafs should keep things simple, and keep the 4th overall pick.
Don’t let recent draft hype and hysteria fool you – the talent and depth in this draft is impressive, but it’s not so deep that every team is going to take home a superstar. For all the talk of Provorov and Mathew Barzal and Mikko Rantanen being absolute studs, let’s not forget that none of these hockey players have actually, you know, played hockey for a couple months. Back then, there was a clearly defined consensus top five; one that 25 teams in the league would have loved to move up in.
We all want more picks, but I’m not convinced that the Leafs need more picks at the expense of moving down in the draft order. Acquire those additional assets by moving a Phil Kessel or Tyler Bozak or Dion Phaneuf or Joffrey Lupul. It certainly sounds like Toronto will be able to add enough assets that trading down is unnecessary.
Right now, the Leafs need the best prospect they can get, and they have a better chance of doing that with the fourth pick than they do with the six or seventh or eighth pick.
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